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Smaller Farmers: Supermarket Prices

Volume 679: debated on Thursday 10 September 2020

What steps his Department is taking to ensure that small farmers obtain a fair price from supermarkets for their produce. [R] (905819)

We want farmers to get a fair price for their produce, and the Government are committed to tackling the contractual unfairness that exists in the agrifood supply chain. Through the Agriculture Bill, we are seeking to strengthen the position of farmers by improving transparency in the supply chain, and there are new powers in the Bill to introduce statutory codes of contractual practice.

I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply, but the supermarket Sainsbury’s is threatening to tear up the contracts of small dairy farmers in West Dorset that supply it with milk if they refuse to sell it a percentage of their calves. Does he agree that Sainsbury’s is abusing its dominant position, and will he support me in defending small farmers across the country from these predatory supermarkets?

I am happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss this issue in more detail. We now have in place the groceries code adjudicator, which regulates the types of contracts that supermarkets can put in place and precludes certain practices, but through the Agriculture Bill, we can go further and stipulate further requirements in contracts in future.