UK farmers are urging stricter regulations to protect them from the 'big six' supermarkets' perceived unjust treatment. A scarecrow protest outside Parliament recently represented the farmers' plight, coinciding with MPs discussing grocery supply chain reforms. The debate comes after over 110,000 people signed a petition demanding an overhaul of the grocery supply code of practice.
Riverford Organic, the initiator of the petition, emphasized that the scarecrows symbolize fruit and vegetable farmers who fear bankruptcy within a year, attributing supermarkets' purchasing practices as a significant threat to their survival. The petition seeks regulations that enforce fair purchasing agreements, including adherence to agreed quantities and prompt payment.
Riverford Organic's founder, Guy Singh-Watson, expressed fears about the future of British agriculture, stressing that without fair treatment, the farming industry, along with its landscape, wildlife, and rural communities, could be destroyed.
Defra spokesperson acknowledged the importance of fruit and vegetable farmers to the UK's food system resilience and promised a review into the fairness of the supply chain to address these concerns.