31 March 2000
Supermarkets pledge code of practice

By FWi staff

SUPERMARKETS have pledged to develop a code of practice to govern their relationships with the farmers and growers that supply them.

The code will be implemented by each supermarket independently, said the Institute of Grocery Distribution, which is facilitating discussions on the idea.

The National Farmers Union is playing a prominent part in these talks with the IGD, but it is not known when the code will be in place.

However, it aims to ensure that terms and conditions between farmers, manufacturers and retailers are clearly understood.

It will also monitor agreements, formal and informal, and will ensure reasonable notice is given regarding changes to terms and conditions.

The IGD said the intention to launch the code was clear proof of the supermarkets commitment to British agriculture.

The move, which has been welcomed by the government and the NFU, comes against a backdrop of an inquiry into supermarket practices.

The Competition Commission threatened to impose a code of practice on supermarkets if it found them guilty of abusing their monopoly buying power.

NFU president Ben Gill said the code would offer farmers the chance to get more form the market place and would particularly help horticulturists.