FEBRUARY 19, 2008: The Tenant Farmers Association has welcomed the news that theCompetition Commission is to recommend that the Office of Fair Tradingshould establish an ombudsman’s scheme to adjudicate in disputesbetween supermarkets and their suppliers.
TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said, “For many years the TFA has been campaigning for a statutory code of practice and an ombudsman to regulate the relationship between supermarkets and suppliers of farm produce in particular. It is great news that this now seems likely to become a reality”.“Over the years we have been become increasingly concerned about the dominant role played by supermarkets in the supply chain between farm and fork. “Whilst it can be argued that consumers have benefited in the short term through low prices for food on supermarket shelves, the long term position is more worrying. Many farmers have been forced out of business because they are unable to produce food to the high animal welfare and environmental standards required of them at the prices the supermarkets have been willing to pay. Livestock and dairy farmers have been particularly badly hit in this way.”At a time when consumers are demanding more local food with guarantees of provenance, the relationship between the retailers and the suppliers will have to change. I hope that the new ombudsman will play a leading role in that respect” said Mr Dunn.