Fair Price For Farmers?

fair price

Over the past few years, in many countries including notably the UK, supermarkets have driven down the prices paid to farmers for meat, vegetables and milk. This has been partly due to consumers seeking a given price for goods (where smaller grocery stores are attempting to undercut the big players); cheaper food imports; and the supermarkets seeking a greater profit share. Consequently some farmers have needed to borrow money.

The issue has caused concern among the farming community, and some protests (such as those seen during the summer of 2015; one protest included parading a cow through a supermarket). For this reason the UK Parliament has launched aninquiry called “Farmgate prices.”

The brief is based on farming and food being a fundamental part of the UK economy, valued in the region of £100 billion a year and providing thousands of jobs. Due to volatility in the prices paid for their produce, this is affecting the entire farming community.

During the autumn of 2015, civil servants and politicians collected oral evidence from industry representatives, processors, retailers, the Groceries Code Adjudicator, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The inquiry has concluded very little. It affirms that it is not the job of government to regulate food prices and that “farmers need to work together to create opportunities for themselves” and that in the future “there is a general expectation that worldwide demand will be driven by population size and economic growth.”

For farmers, at risk from aggressive pricing from supermarkets, this may not be enough. There’s a chance protests by farmers will continue this year.

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.