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:

I will just add a bit more to that. There is also a need in the wider industry for a real culture change around co-operation and how we work together, both through the supply chain and between producers themselves. In some areas, we have better integration and better co-operative working. In the “Health and Harmony” document, the co-op that I belong to—OMSCo, the milk suppliers co-operative—was cited as a very good case study, and that is absolutely right. Differentiating markets, being very clear of our purpose, being inventive and entrepreneurial, and working well in partnership will all stand us in good stead.

There is a real need to look at transparency and information clarity, which we have already talked about a bit today. I also want to mention the opportunity to shorten supply chains and create new markets through investing in the kind of infrastructure that we need, in order to allow farmers and growers to deal more directly with the consumers themselves. We need to do that efficiently, so that we do not end up with white vans and lots of capital investment on every farm. But I think there are ways of doing that through processing hubs and good distribution networks, and that could be revolutionary in ensuring that fresh food is available affordably and does not always have to go through the normal retail chains.