Review to increase fairness in the fresh produce supply chain

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A review to improve fairness in the fresh produce supply chain was launched by the Government today (14 December), supporting British farmers and growers to receive a fair price for their products and ensuring customers have access to high-quality fresh British products.

The Fresh Produce Supply Chain Review delivers on a key commitment made by the Prime Minister at the Farm to Fork Summit in May and will seek the views of industry on issues including the fairness of contracts between producers and purchasers in the sector, and how supply chain data can be used to support transparency in the negotiation process.

The horticulture industry is a vital part of the UK’s food supply chain, contributing £3.3 billion to the British economy in 2022 and growing more than 3 million tonnes of over 300 different fruit and vegetable crops domestically.

Production of fruit and vegetables often occurs in rural areas and provides valuable income and jobs to these rural communities. Supporting the growth of this sector is a key component of the Prime Minister’s priority of growing the economy.

The sector has faced a number of challenges in recent years including increased energy, fuel and labour costs which have raised concerns about the fairness of the UK supply chain.

Today’s review is the first step in addressing these concerns, providing support for fruit and vegetable growers across the UK and helping meet the government’s target to keep producing 60% of the food we consume here in the UK.

It builds upon a series of reviews that have taken place, or are currently underway, to improve fairness in the pork, dairy and egg supply chains.

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said:

I’m committed to backing British farmers and growers, and it’s only right that producers should be paid a fair price.

This review will help ensure that is the case, as well as delivering on our commitments from the Farm to Fork Summit to provide greater stability and resilience for the fresh produce sector.

The review will gather evidence about how contractual arrangements in the fresh produce sector currently function, whether there is a need for further legislation to oversee the relationship between producers and purchasers, and whether the supply chain can be made more transparent.

This is an open consultation, meaning that responses from all stakeholders with a link to the fresh produce sector will be welcomed. The review will open today (14 December) and will run for 10 weeks until 22 February.

Today’s announcement builds on a number of actions the Government has delivered since the Farm to Fork Summit in May. This includes investing £168 million in grants and competitions this year alone to support farmers foster innovation, boost productivity and improve animal welfare; boosting food and drink exports by hiring five new agricultural attaches to tackle barriers to markets; and backing industry-led action to support customers to “Buy British” when shopping online.

We have also announced that 45,000 visas will be available in both 2023 and 2024 to support the horticulture sector and will be providing financial support to the Controlled Environment Horticulture (CEH) by opening access to the Phase 3 Industrial Energy Transformation (IETF) Fund launching in January 2024.

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