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Farron calls on supermarkets to help farmers and rural communities

June 25, 2013 4:50 PM

TF ruralSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has joined with the Campaign for Rural England (CPRE) to call on supermarkets to do much more to support farmers.

This year's late and exceptionally cold spring and last year's wet and erratic seasons, means times continue to be tough for our farmers. That's why CPRE and Tim have asked their supporters to contact the biggest food retailers: Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, M&S, The Co-operative and Waitrose, to ask how they are supporting the farmers, local food producers, and the management of the countryside. CPRE supporters sent over 7,000 emails to the chief executives of the major supermarkets and CPRE have analysed the responses that they received. There were some interesting initiatives, but Tim believes all the major supermarkets could do a lot better.

CPRE and Tim are calling on supermarkets to:

• Pay farmers a fair price for their produce - by taking into account fluctuations in the cost of fertiliser, diesel and animal feed into supermarket pricing formulas

• Stock and promote more 'countryside friendly' food such as produce 'Woodland Eggs' or 'Conservation Grade' cereals, to help to manage landscape features and wildlife habitats.

• Shorten supply chains by setting challenging targets for stocking local food - CPRE would like to see at least 10% of sales in a supermarket come from the local area (defined as from within 30 miles).

Tim said: "I am supporting the Campaign for Rural England because I think that this campaign will support farmers, but will also help consumers and rural communities. These pledges are something that the massive supermarkets can fulfil at the stroke of a pen, paying farmers fairly and shortening supply chains. They should do it because it is not only the right thing to do, but because it makes good business sense!"