9 January 2002
Safeway pushes code of practice

By Isabel Davies

SAFEWAY will insist that big processors who deal with farmers must observe the principles of a new code of trading practice.

The voluntary code, introduced last year, does not automatically apply to meat, milk and bread processing firms who deal with farmers.

But Safeway – one of the top four supermarkets in the country – has offered to make it a requirement that all of its suppliers comply.

The retailer claims that its so-called Farmers Charter will plug a “major loophole” and offer farmers greater protection.

The announcement comes as one of its major competitors – Tesco – is locked in battle with militant group Farmers for Action.

John Durkin, Safeway trading director, said he was confident that all of the stores major processors would agree to support the initiative.

“We have a strong mutual interest in building good trading relationships with farmers based on meeting the needs of our customers,” he said.

Safeway has also pledged to develop long-term relationships with farmers who supply it indirectly and processing companies

It has also said it wants to develop more local and regionally-sourced products where there is sufficient customer demand.

The National Farmers Union said the stores decision was great news as the code should apply to anyone with a direct trading relationship with farmers.

“We hope that Safeways move motivates the other supermarkets to do likewise,” said NFU marketing manager Helen Lo.

The NFU wants other retailers to implement the code so it covers smaller buyers who source produce from farmers, she added.