Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson has written to the CEOs of the ‘big six supermarkets’ urging them to “get fair about farming”.
Specifically, Singh-Watson wants the supermarket bosses to adopt five key principles set out in Riverford’s Fair to Farmers Charter, namely: “pay what you agreed to pay, buy what you agreed to buy, agree on fair specifications, commit for the long term and pay on time”.
Writing on the Wicked Leeks site, Singh-Watson says: “The exploitation of many small producers by a few large, powerful retailers, driving the surviving farmers to increasingly environmentally destructive practices, is not an immutable rule of nature. It is a political and social choice – and a better way is possible.”
Riverford has also launched a petition calling on the Government to “amend the Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCP) to require retailers, without exception”, to:
– Buy what they agreed to buy
– Pay what they agreed to pay
– Pay on time
Singh-Watson says that, to date, the open letter and petition has been greeted “with complete silence from supermarkets and by government”. But, he says, if the petition gets to 100,000 signatures (it currently has over 80,000 signatures, including those of Deborah Meaden, Rick Stein and Chris Packham) the government is legally obliged to debate the subject in public.
He adds: “Farmers have to be paid fairly. And we have to get on with this quickly because half of farmers in our sector – fruit and veg – say they could be out of business next year. I urge everyone to get online, sign the petition – and get fair about farming. Let’s get to the 100,000 … and perhaps we’ll see a change”.
Main image: Guy Singh-Watson, Riverford.