16 August 1999
Farmers’ markets to be ‘a vital lifeline’
By FWi staff
A SURVEY carried out by the NFU shows more than 98% of members responding believe that selling their produce at farmers markets could provide a vital lifeline for their businesses.
The number of markets is expected to dramatically increase in the next year as 89% of respondents claimed that, if they did not already sell through one, they would take part if one was set up in their area.
Numbers of farmers markets have risen steeply in the last year, and total about 75 at present. But if the current trend continues, the NFU believes there could soon be a market in every major town.
One of the major factors producers gave in favour of using farmers markets was the face-to-face contact with the public.
But better profit margins and the removal of “middlemen” from the food chain were also considered important.
The main reasons why farmers did not take part in markets included a lack of opportunities in their area, the risk of a new venture and a lack of time and staff.
Tony Pexton, NFU deputy president, said that farmers markets were ideal to press home the message that British really is best.
“This is a pioneering strategy which opens up a new outlet, particularly for small-scale producers, those serving speciality markets and others wishing to diversify.
“It is beginning to build an even stronger relationship between farmers and consumers,” he added.