Information flow plea

20 July 2001

Information flow plea

BETTER information flow between end users and growers is vital to ensure cereal and oilseed production meets the needs of increasingly demanding markets, says Mike Calvert, chief executive of RASE.

"If the current government is committed to overhauling the CAP and diverting the support to the creation of viable rural areas, then what is the future for combinable crop farmers?" he asked industry representatives at the Home-Grown Cereals Authoritys annual harvest lecture in London this week.

More than ever there was a need to produce what the market wanted, rather than just commodities, he said. But growers had to know exactly what that was, so the supply chain had to work together to identify needs.

In the past, information had not flowed well enough because some people in the food chain had only survived by withholding key information from other participants. "There will be some re-building needed," he warned.

The industry also had to add value and have unique selling points to remain viable, he stressed. "The relentless treadmill of increasing efficiency leads nowhere because our competitors overseas are doing just the same."

Mr Calvert called on the HGCA to work with appropriate organisations and authorities to discover what was required environmentally and to outline suitable payment schemes.

"We can produce skylarks if the price is right, but we do need to know what ipeople want us to deliver – and we need to be paid for it. " &#42

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