Examination of Witnesses

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

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Helen Browning:

If I can come in on that, I welcome the focus on the relationship between the farmer and the first buyer of produce. We often pin all the woes of the world on to the retailers, but most farmers and producers deal with a processor, not a retailer. Historically, there is a blame game that goes on in that relationship. The processor will blame the retailer, the retailer will blame the processor, and it will all start to shift up and down the chain. In my experience, the processors, which are often very large businesses, have not been keen on farmer co-operation, unless it is their own supply chain. If we are going to encourage more farmers to get their act together, market well, grow and plan, we need that relationship to work better and that collaboration to be welcomed by the processors and not crushed, as has often happened in the past.