Producer partnership is key to food supply, Onion & Carrot Conference told

Growers should collaborate more to maximise the opportunities presented by changing market conditions, lecturer and author Sean Rickard told last week's Onion & Carrot Conference.

"Demand for food will double in the next 40 years and supermarkets already realise that the risk of not being able to source produce will rise," he said. "The new era will push power back up the supply chain to producers.

"Growers have faffed on about a supermarket ombudsman but the only thing that will change their attitude is if they think that their supply is under threat."

Meanwhile, he added: "Your input prices are going up while your selling price isn't and it will cost more and more to invest. Price pressure will drive less competitive growers out of business.

"In 10 years, there will be just four or five growers supplying the bulk. There will be greater partnership - every other industry accepts this." But for those that remain, he said: "There are enormous opportunities."

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