Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:12 pm on 25th October 2018.

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Jack Ward:

The first thing to say is that the fresh produce of industry is largely operated outside of the common agricultural policy; it has had very little support over the past 40 years. Some of the things in the Bill are definitely positives. We welcome the continuation of the producer organisation scheme, and we look forward to conversations with DEFRA and the industry to see how we can improve the operability of that scheme. We all recognise that it has its shortcomings, but, going forward, it is a real opportunity.

The productivity piece is interesting. Within fresh produce we are always interested in how you reduce the risk of growing some crops and how you increase and improve the quality of those crops. The other interesting piece is around supply chain fairness. I know that is still to come, but obviously when you deal with multiple retailers and 85% of everything we produce goes through the hands of 10 people—possibly soon to become nine—how you address that imbalance between a large number of relatively small businesses and some enormous businesses is a constant source of tension.