1,000 of Sainsbury's farmers and growers to discuss the future of food and farming today
The 'Farming for the Future' conference will be the first time the supermarket has brought together such a cross section of its farmers to discuss the major challenges facing the industry, and to explore new ways of making agriculture more sustainable.
The conference will look at some of the current pressures facing the industry and in the future, such as increasing volatility of global markets; rising demand from emerging markets; the impact of climate change and legislation; and how food security will impact global resources.
Working with British and global farmers and growers, Sainsbury's says that it has already made significant progress on sustainability, continuing to drive quality, innovation and efficiency, raising animal welfare standards while reducing their impact on the environment. This has largely been achieved through its' dedicated Development Groups now established across beef, lamb, pork, eggs, chicken, milk, cheese, grain and produce.
Justin King, Chief Executive, Sainsbury's, says, "Creating and maintaining supply chains that are resilient in the face of challenges such as climate change and food security will be crucial in the years ahead.
"We've made great progress in tackling some of these issues with our agricultural supply chain, especially through our Development Groups, which we've already invested £21 million to date. We must now develop even closer working relationships with our farmers, growers and suppliers if we are to achieve a sustainable future that's better for all."
Sainsbury's Dairy Development Group was the first to be set up in 2006, with an initial investment of £15 million. Earlier this year, Sainsbury's committed a further £40 million for the next three years. The aim of the Group is to help 343 dairy farmers reduce their on-farm costs by improving efficiency, animal health and welfare and reducing their impact on the environment. Farmers are paid a premium on top the milk market price for good agricultural practice, as well as investment in on-farm initiatives.
Meurig Raymond, NFU Deputy President, says, "I am pleased to join Sainsbury's today in highlighting how important collaborative, fair and open relationships are across the whole of the supply chain. The NFU shares in this vision of equitable partnerships that will be needed to underpin the delivery of our food supplies against the many challenges that face us all in the future, particularly within the current economic climate”.
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