Sainsbury’s is to increase the amount it pays its farmers for lamb in a bid to help them cope with higher production costs caused by the poor weather.

Sainsbury’s farmers will receive £3.80/kg – which it claims equates to 60p/kg above the market average - until the end of February. Funded by Sainsbury’s, the increase will be paid to 800 sheep farmers who make up the Sainsbury’s Lamb Development Group and who supply lamb into its standard-tier ‘by Sainsbury’s’ and premium Taste the Difference ranges.

Sainsbury’s was passionate about sourcing British products and was very proud of what it had achieved through its farming development groups over the past five years, said Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King. “Because of the close relationship we have built with our farmers, we can react quickly to the volatile market conditions.”        

The news of the price rise comes after the NFU warned on Wednesday farmers were losing £29 on average for every lamb they sold, and lamb prices were at their lowest for three years.

The NFU welcomed the announcement and called on Sainsbury’s peers to follow. “Although it involves limited numbers and is for a limited time period, it lays down the challenge to other major retailers to ensure their lamb suppliers also receive a fair price,” livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe.