NFU issues supermarket price war warning

The industry must ensure growers do not get caught in the middle of supermarket price wars and become retailers' "pawns" as the multiples struggle to maintain profits.

This was the warning from NFU horticulture and potatoes board chairman Guy Poskitt in response to the revelation that Tesco's profits have reduced by six per cent.

Carrot grower Poskitt said: "When I read these figures I can't help but put them in the context of British growers who can make no profit due to crop losses or weather impacts, or who have taken very low salaries from their businesses to break even.

"Growers of horticultural and potato crops cannot afford reduced prices while absorbing increased wages and costs like the workplace pensions. It's important for people to have a pension, but there is no escaping this is another huge round of admin for any business, let alone the cost implications that we will struggle to pass on down the supply chain."

Poskitt also raised concerns about the Government's commitment to increasing the amount of produce grown in Britain. "A reduction of 20 per cent of land used for horticulture in the last 30 years and uncropped land increasing fourfold since 1984 are alarming statistics," he said.

"It is clear we can produce more British food in a safe and environmentally responsible way and we must be encouraged to do so."

He expressed his concerns after Defra minister George Eustice reportedly told a committee that he has no concerns about British food self-sufficiency being at its lowest point for a generation.


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