A Call for Agricultural Resilience
At the upcoming NFU Scotland conference in Glasgow, retail expert Ged Futter will present a compelling case to Scottish farmers and crofters: the power of saying “no” to supermarkets and distributors demanding low-cost products. This approach, he argues, is crucial for building a sustainable and strong supply chain that benefits both producers and consumers.
The Current Agricultural Dilemma
The agricultural sector has faced a ‘permacrisis’, with challenges ranging from Brexit and the Ukrainian conflict to the Covid-19 pandemic and soaring inflation rates. These events have not only strained the financial stability of farmers but also highlighted significant weaknesses within the supply chain. With the risk-to-reward ratio becoming increasingly untenable, many in the sector are questioning the viability of continuing food production under current conditions.
Navigating the Retail Landscape
Futter emphasizes that while retailers often receive criticism, the retail-to-consumer model remains the most sustainable and efficient distribution channel. However, the negotiation dynamics between retailers and the farming sector have been skewed, likened to an uneven playing field where farmers are at a distinct disadvantage. The key to altering this dynamic, according to Futter, lies in the ability to reject unfavorable terms and demands.
The Path Forward
Encouraging farmers to prepare for the future, Futter highlights Scotland’s unique advantages, including its abundant water resources and reputation as a world-class exporter of premium products like Scottish salmon and Scotch whisky. These strengths, he suggests, position Scotland favorably for future agricultural success, provided farmers can assert their needs and value within the marketplace.
Empowering Scottish Agriculture
The message to Scottish farmers and crofters is clear: standing firm against supermarket and distributor pressures is not only about protecting immediate interests but also about ensuring long-term sustainability and success. By advocating for fair value and sustainable practices, the agricultural sector can secure a more resilient and prosperous future.
The Power of “No”
Ged Futter’s insights offer a roadmap for Scottish agriculture to navigate the challenges of modern retail dynamics. Moreover, saying “no” to unsustainable demands is a critical first step toward redefining the relationship between producers and retailers. Consequently, this ensures that the agricultural sector can thrive in the face of ongoing challenges and capitalize on future opportunities.