Farexchange aims to secure UK food chain

The development of sustainable and secure supply chains to help ensure the future stability of the food industry was the key message at the launch of the Farexchange initiative.

The development of sustainable and secure supply chains to help ensure the future stability of the food industry was the key message at the launch of the Farexchange initiative in York.

The scheme, which will operate throughout the Yorkshire and Humber region, was formally launched on the 7 October by Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, to an audience of top food professionals and farmers.

Farexchange, a not-for-profit scheme supported by Sir Ken Morrison, the retired creator of the Morrison's supermarket chain, aims to develop value chains across the food sector, linking manufacturers to the region's farmers and growers.

English Food and Farming Partnerships (EFFP) has been tasked with managing the Farexchange Partnership, in collaboration with the Regional Food Group, Defra, Country Land & Business Association, National Farmers Union, Fare Solutions, Askham Bryan College, Bishop Burton College, Yorkshire Agricultural Society, EBLEX and BPEX.

Sion Roberts of the EFFP, explained: "This is a changing world for food companies who are without doubt entering an era of uncertainty. By 2030, globally we will need to produce 50% more food to cope with the increasing population demands, with potentially twice as much by 2050 - all of this using less water, energy, fertilisers and pesticides."

Yorkshire Forward and the Rural Development Programme for Enterprise (RDPE) have made a joint investment of £800,000 in Farexchange. The regional organisation's Food and Drink Sector manager, John Sorsby, said: "The Farexchange scheme is an integral element of Yorkshire Forward's multimillion pound investment in supporting the food and drink industry."

In his speech, Sir Ken Morrison said Farexchange will help farmers tackle the tough challenges that lie ahead and added: "There are many countries with climatic advantage over Britain so farmers need to become more organised. A scheme such as this one can provide a wide range of benefits for all involved. "

His words were echoed by Prys Morgan, speaking on behalf of Welsh Country Lamb who outlined the success of the Lamblink Scheme the company currently operates in partnership with Asda/Walmart. As sole suppliers of Asda lamb, Welsh Country sources lambs from a supply base of over 5,000 farmers across the UK to ensure their customer gets what they want, when they want it.

The Farexchange Partnership will deliver a programme of conferences, seminars and individual business support meetings to offer practical advice and experience to help food companies and agriculture steady the supply chain.

Farexchange's operational manager, Paul Rhodes said: "The creation of Farexchange heralds a new and exciting chapter where farmers, growers and food companies can work more closely together to improve supply chain efficiency."

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