Defra secretary of state Michael Gove has met the Co-op’s head of agriculture Ciara Gorst to hear about the retailer’s commitments on British agriculture.
The meeting took place while Gove was visiting the Great Yorkshire Show yesterday (12 July), where he also took the opportunity to sign up as a Co-op member.
The Co-op recently pledged to invest £2.5 billion on sourcing UK produce, meat and dairy, and recently switched to 100 per cent British own-brand meat.
Elsewhere at the show, six young Co-op ‘farming pioneers’ attended a roundtable alongside Co-op Food CEO Jo Whitfield, and NFU deputy president Minette Batters to discuss their aspirations for the farming industry.
The platform was designed to allow the young farmers to engage with senior industry figures and stakeholders and discuss issues including supply chain relationships, succession planning, farming as a career and education.
The six farmers, Caroline Morris, Ross Towers, Joe Geraighty, Richard Gardner, Paul Billington and Andy Venables are part of the Co-op’s national training course, initially launched in 2016.
Gorst said: “It’s been fantastic to give our farming pioneers this platform to talk openly about the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead within the retail and agricultural industries – they are an essential part of our supply chain and it’s imperative we all work together.”
Venables said: “The fact that the Co-op brought together its most senior stakeholders, along with the NFU, shows that as a retailer its taking it commitments to farmers seriously and helps us all, as a supply chain, to work together more closely and effectively for the good of the industry and consumers.”