25 November 2000
Farm retailers given shot in the arm
By Peter Grimshaw
MORE farmers are selling produce through farm retail outlets, claims the Farm Retail Association, whose chairman is speaking at the Smithfield Show.
The association, which has seen its membership grow by 50% in the past year, recently received a 100,000 grant from the Countryside Agency.
The money will be used to train members over the next three years and bring money into rural businesses, said chairman Andrew McTurk.
He will join a panel of speakers in a Farmers Weekly Big Debate on marketing called Getting our own back at the show on Tuesday (28 November).
The new funding fills a potential gap created by the ending of a government marketing grant last May intended as a boost to establish the association.
The government money promises to give the association similar support to that being received by farmers markets.
Farm retailers and those selling through farmers markets compliment each other rather than compete with one another for business, said Mr McTurk.
“Although consumers like to use a farmers market, we aim to help farmers who want a solid home base back in the yard for [their] customers.”
“We also find that many farm retailers are using farmers markets to promote their farm shops,” added Mr McTurk.
Farm shops are well placed to compete with supermarkets, offering better traceability often for cheaper food for much of their produce, he said.