Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 3°C

min temp: -1°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Rural charity believes producers can join forces to beat the supermarkets

17:12 27 December 2012

Farmers' market at Snape Maltings

Farmers' market at Snape Maltings

Archant

Farmers compelled to adapt and survive

A RURAL charity is urging independent Suffolk producers to work together, as campaigners call for supermarkets to improve links with the countryside.

Dr Wil Gibson, chief executive of charitable support group Suffolk ACRE, encouraged the region’s thriving network of small producers to consider “collective marketing”, following a report into the sale of local food in supermarkets.

Responding to calls from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) for supermarkets to give more support to the better management of the countryside, local food producers and farmers, Dr Gibson instead proposed the establishment of a cooperative channel for distribution.

He said: “We have such a network of local small producers that we should be thinking about how to market collectively. We ought to be working together for collective distribution and asking what can be done better to get the product out there.”

The CPRE has sent a “New Year’s message” urging the seven biggest supermarkets to stock more local food, improve the deal for local producers and farmers, and source, stock and promote more foods that contribute to managing the countryside.

Ian Woodhurst, senior farming campaigner for CPRE, said: “Supermarkets have improved their environmental performance, particularly in terms of energy use. But there are other areas where CPRE believes they could do more, which is why our members are calling on them to make a New Year’s resolution to give more support to the better management of our countryside, local food producers and farmers in 2013.”

Dairy farmers this year faced a battle over escalating production costs and the prices they are paid for milk.

Bad weather also made growing food a real challenge and disrupted the harvest for many farmers, leading supermarkets to relax restrictions on the supply of misshapen fruit and vegetables.

Dr Gibson agreed that some supermarkets had improved environmental performance and urged local producers to become truly independent by considering the conversion of raw materials into finished products.

He added: “We are seeing more and more supermarkets arriving in Suffolk, but at the same time we have seen a real explosion in the local production of food.

“A lot of farmers growing primary products could come together and begin to enter secondary production.

“We have to recognise the evidence of local demand and adapt to survive.”

1 comment

  • Having visited a few farmers' markets and seen the prices they charge, I don't think the supermarkets will be too worried.

    Report this comment

    JOHN BURLS

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

Nicola Urquhart on a search for her son Corrie McKeague in woodland near Barton Mills.

Dogs, search and rescue teams and members of the public are combing a vast area of woodland, forest and farmland around Barton Mills today as the hunt for Corrie McKeague continues.

The Mid Suffolk Light Railway at Wetheringsett.

Proposals to extend one of Suffolk’s best-loved tourist attractions are set to get the go-ahead, despite opposition from community leaders.

Ed Sheeran and his childhood friend James Mee on the Graham Norton Show. Credit: BBC

Ed Sheeran was reunited with his “best mate growing up” in Suffolk when he appeared on BBC’s Graham Norton Show.

Essex Police were called to reports of concerns over the welfare of a woman (stock image)

Concerns were raised about the welfare of a woman in north Essex this afternoon.

The attack happened in Colchester.

A woman fought off an attacker as he attempted to pull her into a car in Essex this morning.

Curate, Rev Chris Hood at St Mary the Virgin Church in Wetherden, which suffered a fire at the end of Sunday service. Credit: Nigel Brown

Firefighters have been praised for saving a historic Suffolk church after a blaze broke out in its roof at the end of Sunday service.

An aerial view of the B1106. Credit Mike Page

Two people have been rescued from an overturned car in north Suffolk.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24