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Farming Minister George Eustice creates £10 million fund for farmer co‑operation

Policy campaign

22nd February 2018
Last updated
18th November 2020
Policy issue
Arla farmer David Christensen

The new fund, of up to £10 million, was announced by farming minister George Eustice on Friday (16 February 2018). The fund will be co-designed with farmer co-ops and industry bodies including Co-operatives UK. It is intended to support new forms of farmer co-operation, as well as the development of existing co-ops.

Alongside our farmer members we held extensive talks with Defra officials and ministers to ensure understanding was in place around how forming co-operatives helps farmers invest in new technology, achieve economies of scale, mitigate market volatility and earn a fairer price for their produce. 

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This fund is the fruit of the close work we've done with Defra since the EU referendum and signals government's intent to help farmers strengthen their businesses through co-operation. The farming industry is set for big changes over the coming years and this initiative is much needed, not only because of Brexit, but because there is a need for new and existing co-operatives to help farmers to compete and become more productive.

We want to see this fund being used to develop the scope, scale and impact of farmer co-operation, so that when it comes to innovation, sustainability, resilience and commercial savvy, British farmers can lead the world. 
– Richard Self, Food and Farming Manager, Co-operatives UK

Co-operatives UK members who played a major role in discussions with Defra officials and ministers include: Anglia Farmers; Arla Food UK; Berry Garden Growers; British Growers Association; Camgrain; English Mustard Growers; First Milk; Fram Farmers; G's Growers; Meadow Quality; SAOS; The Green Pea Company; and Woldmarsh.

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This package of measures is designed to improve transparency and integrity within the food supply chain and to support collaborative business models where producers can come together to strengthen their position or work jointly on specific areas of work.

Too often in the past, farmers have ended up being price takers and there have been too many instances where a lack of transparency in prices and charges by some processors has undermined the market. If we want a successful farming industry in the future then it is essential that we have properly functioning markets and that farmers receive a fair share of the value of the food they produce.
– Farming Minister George Eustice

The next step will see Co-operatives UK and other industry bodies working with Defra to shape how the fund will operate.