9 January 2002
Tesco blockade to begin

By Adrienne Francis

MILITANT farmers are set to begin a blockade of Tesco stores and distribution depots, report Britains daily newspapers.

The supermarket chain has rejected demands by Farmers for Action (FFA) to meet and discuss farm prices, says the Daily Telegraph.

Members of the organisation will begin a blockade of Tesco stores and distribution depots on Wednesday (9 January), it claims.

Farmers for Action chairman David Handley expects several hundred farmers to take part in direct action, it says.

An offer by the chain to let Farmers for Action members attend a supermarket producer club of selected farmers was rejected.

The Financial Times says Tesco also offered farmers a meeting with the director of agricultural produce.

A spokesman for the chain said its “producer clubs” provided farmers with an appropriate forum for discussion.

“Blockading depots will hurt fellow British farmers by keeping food off shelves,” the paper reports.

“That cannot be in the interests of British farming,” the spokesman added.

The paper says it is uncertain how much support protests will attract. Many farmers believe the action could be counterproductive, it adds.

The National Farmers Union has distanced itself from the protests, which it and warned could harm farmers who sell produce to retailers, it says.

Marketing adviser Stuart Thomson said the NFU understood farmers frustrations, but could not support any illegal action.