Waitrose ups offer for lamb

Waitrose has announced that it will pay British lamb producers around 10% above the market rate for early lamb.

The supermarket, which has been selling Welsh lamb since May, said it has taken this step because it believes that the current market price for new season Welsh lamb is unsustainable and does not reflect production costs.

British and Welsh lamb will be offered across its branches by 8 June and it will cease to sell fresh New Zealand lamb for the duration of the British season of available lambs from Waitrose producers.

"The importance of a collaborative supply chain, where the farmer and the supermarket understand each other's businesses, is evident in a year when market prices collapse," said Jon Morgan of Livestock Marketing.

"By taking a long term view Waitrose is ensuring a sustainable and continued supply from a group of known producers it has worked with for the last 15 seasons."

Gareth Vaughan, president of the Farmers Union of Wales, said:

"I firmly believe that dedicated producer groups - where all parties have a clear understanding of the market and its challenges - is the way forward. This enables farmers to plan their season with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will have support during market fluctuations."

Jane Clarke, Waitrose central meat buyer, said: "Our policy has always been to support our farmers and pay them in line with the care and expertise that goes into producing quality lamb for Waitrose. As a team, we work towards a long term, sustainable lamb market, and ensure our farmers are paid a fair price which considers the cost of production."

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