The Tenant Farmers Association has told the newly formed Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) that it should not be using levy payers money to fund the Red Tractor logo.
The TFA’s National Chairman, Greg Bliss said “The TFA has always been sceptical of the value of the Red Tractor and the various assurance schemes to which the Red Tractor logo applies. A major irritation of my members is the number and frequency of farm inspections carried out throughout the year, often at the most inopportune times. Assurance schemes, birthed in the 1990’s, have certainly added to this burden but were originally launched on the premise that a farmer meeting assurance standards would be able to command a higher price in the market place in comparison to those who did not meet assurance standards. The TFA has always been unconvinced by this argument. There is no evidence of a producer premium for farm-assured produce”.
Instead, the TFA believes that AHDB should be providing grant aid to producers whether individually, co-operatively or in farmer controlled businesses to assist them in the development of their own brands and brand image which they can own, support and develop themselves. Part of this strategy could involve working with the English Food and Farming Partnerships (EFFP) to assist in the development of cooperative and collaborative thinking amongst levy payers in this area.
“Whilst the Red Tractor logo may appear on £7.5 billion worth of produce, the TFA does not believe that farmers have seen much of the benefit of this. The Red Tractor logo is not owned in the same way as a brand is owned. Producer owned brands allow for improvements in the value of market share to be passed to the producers themselves in a way the Red Tractor logo will never do. As shoppers develop individual brand awareness and increasingly demand specific brands within retail stores, retailers in turn will have to do market driven deals with brand owners to meet that demand,” said Mr Bliss.
“Retailers like the Red Tractor because it homogenises the products on their shelves enabling them to obtain maximum benefit from the shopper by sourcing at the lowest price. Whilst we see the importance of AHDB in investing in quality assurance and brand awareness it should not be in a single mark or within a single scheme,” said Mr Bliss.
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