News / Sustainable Farming Campaign

UK needs to follow EU lead and stop unfair trading practices

A new EU directive will support farmers getting a fairer deal in their trading relationships. Sustain says the UK needs to introduce equivalent legal measures in the Agriculture Bill.

Vegetables for sale. Photo credit: Pexels

Vegetables for sale. Photo credit: Pexels

This month EU leaders are expected to sign off on a new law to tackle unfair trading practices in farming supply chains.

Unfair treatment can include cancelling orders at the last minute and failing to pay on time. As Sustain member Traidcraft explains, these practices create insecure incomes and poverty amongst farmers, with 96% of food businesses experiencing unfair commercial practices.

The Unfair Trading Practices Directive will result in small farmers and medium-sized producers in the EU having increased protection from bullying by big food buyers. Sustain's Sustainable Farming Campaign Coordinator, Vicki Hird, believes that it is imperative that the UK introduces similar measures:

“The new Farm Minister responsible for supply chain regulation, Robert Goodwill MP, needs to look afresh at this Directive and introduce equivalent measures into UK law rather than suggesting we don’t need them. Farmers and growers selling in the UK need to have the same protection from unfair practices here – such as late payments, cancelled orders or unexpected payments - as they will when selling into EU grocery supply chains.

"We also need the Fair Dealing clause in the UK Agriculture Bill to be strengthened so that the Minister will definitely deliver new statutory contracts and so they will apply along the supply chain not just to first purchasers.

"These are vital measures for farmers so they can farm sustainably and with good animal welfare as we enter a highly uncertain era of new global trade deals and major shifts in the food industry such as further concentration in retail.”

Published 13 Mar 2019

Sustainable Farming Campaign: Sustain encourages integration of sustainable food and farming into local, regional and national government policies.

Latest related news

Support our campaign

Your donation will help us work with farmers to push for policies to support farming fit for our future.


The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

020 3559 6777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

© Sustain 2023
Registered charity (no. 1018643)
Data privacy & cookies