Farmers Want Supermarket Ombudsman to Set Fair Prices

UK - Farmers in Ulster on Wednesday called for the appointment of a supermarket ombudsman to make sure that suppliers get a fair price from retailers.
calendar icon 1 November 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

It was expected that the Competition Commission would recommend the measure in a preliminary report on practices within the UK's retail sector.

But, while the commission advised that the voluntary Supermarkets Code of Practice (SCOP) needs to be tightened, with new arrangements for the way it is monitored, it stopped short of recommending the appointment of an ombudsman.

The commission raised concerns over the relationship between supermarkets and suppliers and said changes were needed to offer greater protection to suppliers. It warned that supermarkets are able to transfer risk and cost to suppliers through purchasing practices, such as retrospective changes to supply agreements, which could stifle investment in the supply chain.

Proposed changes to SCOP may see the rules extended to cover more than just the big four supermarket chains.

Dairy farmer Tom Elliott, who is deputy chairman of the Stormont agriculture committee, said it is vital that some sort of regulation is put in place to protect farmers - otherwise Ulster's local produce will go extinct.

"My main aim is the issue about the value of the products and how much they put back to processors and farmers. Clearly I've been in touch with the Competition Commission several times over the last number of months about it, " he said.

Source: Belfast Telegraph

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