Examination of Witnesses

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

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Photo of Colin Clark Colin Clark Conservative, Gordon 12:12 pm, 25th October 2018

Q I declare an interest: I am a conventional farmer and an organic farmer, and I own fresh produce factories. I have been involved in farming for donkeys’ years.

Part 6 of the Bill is about fairness in the supply chain. Several retailers have moved to central direct buying, effectively reducing the role of contracted packers. That has been part of the problem with the oversupply of apples this year. The industry is already changing: instead of producer organisations having 12 months’ integrated supply, the supermarkets are now trying to do it themselves. How will the Bill rebalance that? If you do try to rebalance it, you must maintain the natural effect of the market—how else will you control supply? What does the Bill actually do to give real powers of fairness between the power of the supermarkets, where they are already squeezing out the existing supply chain?