Kirton Holme grower urgers farmers to make case for fairer deal

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Growers have until January 10 to make their views known on extending the remit of the groceries code adjudicator who monitors and enforces the supply code of practice that covers the UK’s ten largest retailers, writes Roger Welberry.

Growers are asked to write to their MPs for the adjudicator’s role to be widened. Two of the proposals are that the principles of the code be made compulsory – they are currently voluntary – and the adjudicator be able to take evidence of any breach from primary producers.

To date a survey has shown that most retailers had improved their behaviour since 2015 but it was still disappointing to find that a number of suppliers were reluctant to raise an issue for fear of their relations with a retailer being damaged.

Some good news: the Co-op has joined the NFU pledge for fruit and vegetables alongside Aldi, which was the first to join. The pledge is designed to cultivate long-lasting relationships between retailers and growers and for retailers to adhere to a number of requirements, including the fair treatment of suppliers, advance planning on promotions, investment in horticultural research, and a commitment to increasing the amount of British fresh produce available for customers.

Some bad news: expect to pay more for your sprouts this year, all due to a little insect called a diamond back moth. It came over from the Continent in its trillions in summer, laid its eggs in the sprout knobs and when they hatched the caterpillars ate into them, making holes and so spoiling the quality. Sorry about that!

Have a good Christmas and enjoy your expensive sprouts.