Waitrose launches fresh commitment to farming

Waitrose has reinforced its commitment to UK agriculture with the launch of the Waitrose Farming Partnership (WFP), which will see the retailer work more closely with farmers to help overcome some of the challenges facing the sector.

The WFP, which covers all of the retailer’s agricultural farmer-focused initiatives, will include what the retailer describes as “groundbreaking” research to reduce livestock producers’ dependence on imported feed materials.

Working with other partner organisations, the £2m Optibean project is looking into the possibility of producing domestic Faba beans as a potential replacement for soybean in animal feed.

The project is being funded with support from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and will run for four years, and feeding trials will be carried out across Waitrose’s pig, poultry and fish supply chains.

Waitrose ruminant livestock suppliers have also obtained £2m TSB funding for a five-year, match-funded project to develop ways of incorporating home-grown protein into feeding regimes through eight of the retailer’s commercial farms.

Heather Jenkins, Waitrose director of agricultural strategy, said: “This work with our partner organisations is very exciting and could deliver significant benefits for our farmers, helping shield them from market volatility.

“We firmly believe the Waitrose Farming Partnership will deliver, to our farmers and growers, real practical benefits to help their businesses thrive, building on our already market-leading commitment to British farming.”

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