UFU shocked at Tesco profit announcements

UFU president, David Brown, says farmers will be frustrated by comments from Tesco that a surge in profits is on the back of ‘price pressures’ easing.  He says this must not lead to a further correlation on the prices paid to farmers, which remain under pressure from aggressive retailers despite rising costs on farms.

Farm businesses can’t survive making losses, but for farmers, the comment that their pre-tax profit jumped to £2.3bn from £882 million the previous year, came from easing price pressures is cause for concern.  We have long advocated greater fairness along the food supply chain.  That cannot go hand in hand with retailers enjoying big profit increases while losses rise on farms.  By no standards could that ever be described as fair”, said the UFU president.

Wet weather has worsened the cash flow position of many farms, putting family farms under even more pressure.  Mr Brown says this makes some of the comments from Tesco about its profits even more galling for farmers to read in the press.

“In many cases, Tesco will have been paid for food off farms, long before farmers have been paid for it.  The retailer is taking no risks, while farmers struggle with costs, weather, and the incessant pressure from retailers on their margins.  These figures confirm that Tesco is getting all the rewards, while farmers carry all the risks.  An effective food chain depends on fairness and these figures confirm that does not exist for farmers,” said Mr Brown.