Farmers call for ombudsman

26 November, 2007

The NFU is calling for an independent ombudsman to oversee a significantly improved Supermarket Code of Practice to ensure the supply chain is fair, transparent and sustainable.

The National Farmers' Union is calling for an independent ombudsman to oversee a significantly improved Supermarket Code of Practice to ensure the supply chain is fair, transparent and sustainable.

This is just one of the recommendations in its submission to the Competition Commission investigation into the Groceries Market.

Representing farmers during the Commission's enquiry into accusations of abuses of power within the supply chain between retailers and suppliers, the NFU has submitted a seven-page report on the Competition Commission's provisional findings published in October.

Both the NFU and the CC have said there are 'aspects of the way retailers deal with their suppliers which, if left unchecked, could harm consumers'. The initial findings also concluded the existing Supermarket Code of Practice did not prevent any potential harm and supported a case for a revised Code to be made more effective.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: "Ferocious competition in the market place, combined with unrelenting pressure on price, has meant consumers have benefited in the past from low prices, high quality and tremendous choice. However this is unsustainable and if continued unchecked there is a real risk long-term damage could be done to the UK food supply chain.

"Essentially what we need to see is a properly functioning food chain, where fairness, transparency and sustainability are respected and where value added is rewarded. Only then will consumers' expectations of safety, quality, choice and value for money be truly met, and the future of the UK supply chain be secured."





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