Petition Reform the Grocery Supply Code of Practice to better protect farmers

We want the Government to amend the Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCP) to require retailers, without exception, to:

- Buy what they agreed to buy
- Pay what they agreed to pay
- Pay on time

We believe the current GSCP is inadequate and doesn't protect farmers from unfair behaviour.

More details

Almost half (49%) of a panel of 100 UK fruit and veg farmers fear they will have to give up their farm within the next 12 months, and many raised concerns about the behaviour of supermarkets, with 69% agreeing that tougher regulations are required to redress the imbalance of power between farmers, processors and the supermarkets.

The current GSCP contains provisions that are meant to protect suppliers, but allows supply agreements to be varied in certain circumstances. We believe a stronger, clearer code of practice is needed to make sure that all supermarkets stick to fair practices when dealing with farmers.

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Government responded

This response was given on 27 November 2023

The Government is committed to tackling contractual unfairness that can exist in the agri-food supply chain and Defra is working to support farmers and ensure they get a fair price for their products.

Read the response in full

At the UK Farm to Fork Summit held at Downing Street on 16 May, we announced a new review into fairness in the horticulture supply chain building on what we have already got underway to improve transparency and contracts in the pork and dairy markets. Beginning in December, we will launch a public consultation exploring these issues. We will analyse the responses and provide a formal response that provides a summary of the findings and sets out next steps. We can only decide what, if any, action is needed once we have analysed the responses, but I can assure you we will use the powers in the Act to bring forward legislation, wherever necessary.

This review seeks to understand issues relating to fairness in the supply chain across the whole of the UK. If responses indicate there are contractual issues that we believe we should seek to address, the powers in the Agriculture Act apply to the whole of the UK. If regulations are developed, we will engage widely with stakeholders, including the devolved administrations, to ensure that legislation works for all parts of the UK and incorporate special provision for differing circumstances, if necessary.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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