Study says growers must collaborate more

Opportunities lost with food processors and manufacturers, says EFFP

By Sophie Barnett A study has shown that the vast majority of growers are failing to capitalise on opportunities to collaborate with food processors and manufacturers. English Farming & Food Partnerships (EFFP) issued the findings of the study on 20 February. They reveal that while 80 per cent of food processors and manufacturers would prefer to buy raw materials from their own region, only a third are actually doing so. EFFP associate director Stuart Thomson and NFU president Peter Kendall called on growers and farmers to secure more contracts. The study showed that despite the UK food market growing steadily from a £52bn to a £112bn industry between 1998 and 2004/05, farming input remained much the same, only claiming a £14bn share. The study reminded growers of the importance of traceability, availability, price and above all, quality. Ninety-nine per cent of food processors surveyed rated it “important” or “most important”. Thomson urged growers to take steps to ensure they remain competitive against foreign imports, investing where necessary in supply-chain activities. For small producers, this could mean finding funding partners. A total of 46 per cent of food processors and manufacturers surveyed said they would be interested in being approached by suppliers. Kendall said: “Farmers and growers are ready to work and commit to equitable partnerships but what we need to know now is if food processors, food manufacturers and food services operators are ready to step forward and invest with us as well.” The full document is available at www.effp.com.

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