The Government has done a U-turn on its long term refusal to appoint a supermarket Ombudsman to ensure that farmers and growers get a fair price for their produce – days after David Cameron announced that the Tories will make such an appointment if they win the next election.
New Labour have constantly refused to set up such an office despite years of complaints that food suppliers were being bankrupted by supermarket “blackmail” to force them to drop their prices. The supermarkets reneged of as voluntary “fair trade” agreement, according to farming critics.
Even now, however, the duties of the new office have not been fixed and, according to The Guardian newspaper, the Government is still meeting fierce resistance from the big four of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s.
The Tenant Farmers Association has welcomed the Government's announcement that it is to create a retail food industry ombudsman but has criticised the length of time it has taken to reach the decision.
Said TFA chairman Greg Bliss: “Whilst we very much welcome the fact that the penny has eventually dropped in Government, this is a decision that should have been made at least a decade ago.
“I shudder to think of the number of good farm businesses we have lost over that 10-year period as a result of unfair competition and the many more farm businesses which although still functioning, have struggled to make a profit and reinvest in their businesses".