believes that the chain between farmers and consumers has broken down, and that there are now too many groups representing the farm retail sector.This is diluting their effectiveness at a time when the agricultural industry is in crisis.He is suggesting the launch of a single specialist food umbrella group to reconnect the chain and to give British farming a future.
"Farmers and producers do not want the industry to survive on handouts and charity, becoming totally reliant on sponsorship from others," he
claims."They want the industry to be self-sustaining, and for profitable business to reinvest.They want to increase the health and well-being of UK consumers, while at the same time, reconnecting the supply chain with a learning experience from which everyone could benefit."David
, who farms at Car Colston, near Bingham, adds: "For too long UK farming has been product, not market, focussed, and consequently the farmer has lost touch with the consumer.UK farming must now concentrate on reconnecting with the food industry and ultimately the consumer.To achieve reconnection, farmers must think as a consumer and develop their products accordingly."David
is calling for a single specialist food umbrella group - Food from Britain - to promote the top quality food we produce in this country.Working alongside this should be an educational organisation, a lobbying organisation such as the National Farmers' Union
, and a commercial business to take British farming through the 21st Century and beyond.
Drawing from his
suggests the commercial business could be known as the Wholesome Food Company and it would provide fresh, healthy, fully-traceable local food that can be trusted.
"Its customers will be the consumer, retailers and processors," he
explains."This will be a national business that will only buy from UK farms that meet its strict criteria.It will produce a full range of products and will aggressively market them across all market sectors." David
, who was awarded the National Farmers' Union Entrepreneur of the Year Award
in 2000, spends around 15% of his
time as a director of Farmeco UK Ltd
- a group of three farms, one of which he
owns, that are farmed collaboratively with one set of machinery and labour.
The rest of his
time is devoted to Farmshop Home Delivery - a business he
founded two years ago to supply locally produced food to local people in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.It now has a customer base of almost 1,000, and the service has just expanded to provide convenient meals based on local ingredients to pubs, restaurants, cafes and farmshops in the area.
"The farmshop specials range is a prime example of what I am suggesting should be the way forward for farming," explains David
believes that the public would back a commercial operation that represented and united farmers and producers who were committed to responsible food and meat production.The WFC idea would:
Improve traceability of food Reduce the number of miles food travels Create a strong trustworthy brand Unite farmers behind a single entity He
suggests that funding for the idea could initially come from the Government - just as the Curry Report into reconnecting agriculture and the consumer advises - and venture capital, but eventually it would become self-funding.
"The aim of WFC
is to be a long-term sustainable company that generates profit and is accountable to its shareholders as well as the customers," he