Growers hope visit of Sainsbury's CEO will create 'effective dialogue'

The substantial investment growers need to supply Britain's major retailers was highlighted when Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King visited Elveden Farms in Suffolk.

During the three-tour King looked at the farm’s vegetable and arable operations – including its state-of-the-art onion drying and packing plant.

The visit was arranged following a meeting between King and NFU president Peter Kendall earlier this year, when Kendall invited King to visit members’ farms.

Elveden farm manager Lindsay Hargreaves said:

“This visit was a chance to show Mr King an example of British farming at its best, but also an opportunity to explain the challenges we are facing.

“We hope this will be the start of more effective dialogue from retailers back through to the primary producer.”

“We are a major supplier of field-scale vegetables such as onions, potatoes and carrots to Britain’s supermarkets but it has needed significant investment to get where we are today.

“That’s an investment that needs to be recognised and rewarded if businesses like ours are to remain profitable in the future.

“We also stressed the need for more effective communication between retailers and suppliers, right down the supply chain to farm level.”

Elveden Farms covers 4,047 hectares, the largest contiguous cultivated lowland holding in the UK.
It grows about 70,000 tonnes of vegetables every year.

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