Food producers initiative gets thumbs up from FUW

WFWSHIRES_Page_02_Image_0001THE announcement that supermarket Morrisons is starting a search for the best local food producers who can help to feed the nation, following the release of new report which calls for the UK to be more self‐sufficient in food production and new consumer research showing a growing appetite from British shoppers for more local food, has been welcomed by the FUW. ‘The Nation’s Local Foodmakers’ will see Morrisons recruit more than 200 new suppliers from across England, Scotland and Wales in the first year. Morrisons is inviting foodmakers to pitch for their place in its supermarkets via a series of 12 regional events starting in Yorkshire on March 14. The move comes as a new report published by leading experts on global food issues led by Professor Tim Benton, from the University of Leeds, says that only half (52 per cent) of food eaten in the UK comes from our farmers. In the British Food report, Professor Benton says that in light of uncertainties globally it makes increasing sense to build up a stronger local food sector here in the UK and calls on British retailers, producers and customers to recognise the wider benefits of supporting UK food making and production. FUW deputy president Brian Thomas (pictured right) said: “This acknowledgement by Morrisons of the dangers we face in terms of food security and being so reliant on food imports during times of global instability is extremely welcome, and the UK government should also acknowledge this during its negotiations over trade deals and in terms of its local procurement policies.” “We welcome Morrisons’ commitment to UK food and urge other retailers to follow suit. Morrison’s work in terms of producing this document and their commitments to increasing local and UK procurement is in part a response to the risks posed by Brexit to their own business in terms of losing important supply chains and the impacts of exchange rates and that now is the time for supermarkets to better connect with farmers.” Mr Thomas added that unfortunately for Wales, the greatest opportunities in the short term are for arable and horticultural producers (production carried out on only around 5 per cent of Wales’ agricultural land), but there are potentially other beneficiaries ‐ dairy and beef producers for example. In the longer term, he highlighted that it would be beneficial to see supermarkets like Morrisons encouraging those with land which is productive enough and who used to grow crops, vegetables etc. half a century ago to go back to doing this ‐ but it will have to make sense economically and will need significant investment. “We must not forget the importance of our export markets and the complexity of food chains ‐ those at greatest risk from losing export markets are sheep producers, due to the seasonality of production. “We have lots at certain times and need to export it and our reliance on exporting cuts we don’t tend to eat to continental markets in order to make up the value of animals. 30‐40 per cent of lamb is exported to mainland EU ‐ so a trade deal with the EU is essential for Wales’ farmers,” added Mr Thomas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.