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Government Launches Review to Promote Fairness in UK's Fresh Produce Supply Chain

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs have announced the launch of a review aimed at enhancing fairness in the fresh produce supply chain.

The initiative, aimed at supporting British farmers and growers in receiving fair prices for their products, was launched by the Government on 14 December. It follows a commitment made at the Farm to Fork Summit and seeks industry opinions on issues like the fairness of contracts between producers and purchasers, and the use of supply chain data to aid transparency in negotiations.


The horticulture industry, contributing £3.3 billion to the British economy in 2022 and producing over 3 million tonnes of a wide variety of fruit and vegetable crops, is a crucial part of the UK's food supply chain. This sector, predominantly based in rural areas, is vital for the income and employment of these communities and is integral to the Prime Minister's economic growth strategy.


Recent challenges such as rising energy, fuel, and labour costs have raised concerns about the fairness of the UK supply chain. This review is a step towards addressing these concerns, supporting fruit and vegetable growers across the UK, and contributing to the government's goal of domestically producing 60% of the food consumed in the UK.


Environment Secretary Steve Barclay commented, "I’m committed to backing British farmers and growers, and it’s only right that producers should be paid a fair price. This review will help ensure that is the case, as well as delivering on our commitments from the Farm to Fork Summit to provide greater stability and resilience for the fresh produce sector."


The review will explore the current contractual arrangements in the fresh produce sector, the potential need for further legislation to oversee producer-purchaser relationships, and ways to enhance supply chain transparency. It is an open consultation, welcoming responses from all stakeholders linked to the fresh produce sector, and will run from 14 December to 22 February.


The announcement is part of a series of government actions following the Farm to Fork Summit, including a £168 million investment in grants and competitions to support farmers, the appointment of five new agricultural attaches to boost food and drink exports, and initiatives to encourage customers to "Buy British" online.


Additionally, 45,000 visas will be available in 2023 and 2024 to support the horticulture sector, along with financial support to the Controlled Environment Horticulture (CEH) through the Phase 3 Industrial Energy Transformation (IETF) Fund launching in January 2024.

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