THE launch of the NFU’s Catalyst for Change report was launched to a large audience of growers and packers at Springfields last Tuesday.
The growers and packers at the Fruit Focus, the UK’s leading technical event for the fruit industry, contributed to a lively debate on the report into good and poor practice in the fresh produce supply chain.
NFU president Peter Kendall said the investigation should act as a “wake-up call” ahead of the appointment of a groceries adjudicator.
Mr Kendall also told guests there was huge potential for the UK to boost its production of fresh fruit and veg, but warned the supply chain “must change the way it interacts with its grower base” or they could be forced into new markets.
The Catalyst for Change report also details how there has been a significant fall in self-sufficiency for a number of fruit and vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers and spring onions. Other “at risk” crops include Brussels sprouts, lettuce, leeks and cauliflower.
Mr Kendall added: “The need to build stronger supply chain relationships ranks very highly on our lobbying agenda for the fresh produce sector because we believe that greater collaboration between growers, retailers and packers and a fairer share of profits in the chain will be one of the biggest achievements we can make towards building our self-sufficiency in the UK.”
The NFU is calling on retailers, intermediaries and processors to sign up to its ‘Fruit & Veg Pledge’ to show their commitment to best business practice.