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    Government launches review to improve fairness in fresh produce supply chain

    (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

    The UK government has launched a review aimed a improving fairness in the fresh produce supply chain to support farmers and growers to receive a “fair price” for their products.

    The ‘Fresh Produce Supply Chain Review’ was opened on Thursday (14) and will run for 10 weeks until February 22, 2024.

    The review will gather evidence about how contractual arrangements in the fresh produce sector currently function, whether there is a need for further legislation to oversee the relationship between producers and purchasers, and whether the supply chain can be made more transparent.

    Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said, “I am committed to backing British farmers and growers, and it’s only right that producers should be paid a fair price. This review will help ensure that is the case, as well as delivering on our commitments from the Farm to Fork Summit to provide greater stability and resilience for the fresh produce sector.”

    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the horticulture industry is a “vital part” of the UK’s food supply chain and contributed £3.3 billion to the British economy in 2022.

    This figure included the growing of more than 3 million tonnes of over 300 fruit and vegetable crops domestically.

    “The fresh produce sector has faced numerous significant challenges in recent years that have impacted crop production across the sector. Energy, fuel, and labour costs have risen significantly at the same time as the sector has dealt with the impacts of unprecedented and volatile climate conditions. The impacts can be seen across the sector; for example, industry has reported a reduction in tomato and berry production in the past couple of years with further reductions expected next year,” Defra states.

    The department said the launch of the review is the first step in addressing these concerns, providing support for fruit and vegetable growers across the UK.

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