Retailers commit to support farmers during drought

The NFU has reached out to the UK’s top nine supermarket retailers to express the difficulties farmers and growers are facing as a result of the drought brought on the by the recent heatwave.

Aldi, Asda, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Lidl and Tesco​ have all committed to support the farming sector by putting in place a range of measures to aid suppliers and producers during this “challenging period”.

Asda has decided to drop the weight specifications across all suppliers for iceberg lettuce and has relaxed turning away vegetables with visual defects such as tip burn, with carrot suppliers also being allowed to provide thinner crop due to dry conditions.

Aldi has reviewed the specifications on products, including onions and leeks, during the unusual weather conditions and said it will continue to be flexible on specification where there has been damage to crops.

The group said this will help growers utilise a higher percentage of their yield and ensure that they are paid fairly in accordance with agreements, without compromising on quality for customers.

Support from each of the retailers has also included donations to RABI, changes of specification and changes to promotions to take into consideration the quality and volume of product that is available.

A statement by the NFU said: “During these difficult conditions it is vital that retailers commit to long supply chain partnerships where suppliers and customers pull together at times of strain. The NFU is pleased to see that measures have already been taken and urge retailers to continue to communicate with suppliers to understand the pressures at farm level.”

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