The NFU has challenged retailers to do more to support UK-grown fruit and veg and stop the UK’s decline in self-sufficiency.

In 2012, the UK’s self-sufficiency in fruit & veg production fell to 56% of total supply compared with an average of 59% for the previous five years, as bad weather took its toll on many crops [Defra].

Retailers responded well by lowering quality specs for some crops last year, said the NFU, but acting horticulture and potatoes board chairman Guy Poskitt said it was now time to take support further. “It’s time retailers offered long-term contracts committed to crop programmes and offered greater price certainty for their growers so they can have the confidence to invest.”

The NFU is urging retailers to sign up to its Fruit and Veg Pledge, which includes a commitment to increase the proportion of UK fruit & veg stocked when in season, and plans to publish a list of signatories on its website.