Petition to get fairer treatment for growers hits 60,000 signatures
11th October 2023
The #GetFairAboutFarming campaign has seen over 60,000 people sign a petition to the government, but campaigners say the silence from major supermarkets has been “deafening”.
A petition calling for fairer treatment of farmers by supermarkets and their suppliers has been signed by tens of thousands of people since its launch just over two weeks ago.
Once the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, it will have to be debated in parliament.
Meanwhile an open letter to the ‘Big Six’ supermarkets was backed by over 100 leading figures, including Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden, chef Rick Stein and wildlife TV presenter Chris Packham.
It was sent to the CEOs of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl, asking them to treat farmers fairly and warning that the British farming industry was “on its knees”.
However, campaigners say there has been a “deafening silence” from the high street giants to the #GetFairAboutFarming campaign, which was launched by organic fruit and veg box company, Riverford.
Natalie Bennett, the former leader of the Green Party, also backed the campaign, saying in the House of Lords: “Farmers suffer major economic loss and a huge amount of food is wasted because supermarkets order food and then refuse to take it and to put it on the shelves and it rots in the fields.”
It comes after Riverford research found that 49% of British fruit and vegetable farmers say it’s likely they will go out of business in the next 12 months, and many blame supermarkets and their buyers as a leading threat to their livelihoods.
The petition is asking 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.
Guy Singh-Watson, founder of Riverford Organic says: “The reaction and level of support for this campaign has been very encouraging. From the backing of our open letter by industry experts, chefs, MPs, and fellow farmers, to the 50,000 members of the British public who have signed our petition, it is abundantly clear that this is an urgent issue which needs to be addressed.
“However, the silence from supermarkets is deafening. British agriculture is on its knees, with research showing that many farmers attribute their fear of closure to the behaviour of supermarkets. And yet not one of the ‘Big Six’ has responded to our calls for better business practices, to safeguard the future of fruit and veg farmers in this country.
“The supermarkets must act now. This marks a critical moment where we can take a stand against harmful practices, and create a better, fairer future for British food and farming.”
Sign the petition here: petition.parliament.uk/petitions/643216.