After industry consultation over the last year, the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) has concluded that there is no current end market demand for a UK Gatekeeper Protocol for domestic combinable crops for feed and food, but that assurance scheme providers should continue to develop their schemes according to market needs.
AIC was asked by Red Tractor, the NFU and a group of farmers, to look at the potential for introducing a UK Gatekeeper Protocol for domestic crops for the food and feed agri-supply chain, similar to the Gatekeeper Protocol employed for imported materials. It was suggested that a UK protocol could offer an alternative assurance route for those farmers who don’t wish to use existing farm assurance schemes.
John Kelley, chief operating officer of AIC, and managing director of AIC Services said: “Feed and food assurance is vital to secure a safe and secure agri-food supply chain. While we understand that some farmers are keen to look for an alternative to existing farm assurance schemes, a consultation with our members of AIC committees, as well as some processors and end users, found no evidence of a significant end user or processor demand for a UK Gatekeeper Protocol to be introduced at the current time.
“In addition, it was found that the implementation of a UK Gatekeeper Protocol would generate additional cost and administrative complexity to food and feed assurance while offering no added value to the supply chain.
“The current farm assurance schemes offered in the UK are the most cost-effective way of ensuring feed and food safety for the agri-food supply chain at this time. However, it is important that scheme providers continue to listen and adapt to market needs. AIC will consider any alternative assurance scheme at farm gate and further up the supply chain should these be developed in the future.
“Procuring agri-inputs for UK farming remains the highest priority for AIC’s Members, and while supply chains are becoming more complex following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is even more important that the UK has a safe and secure agri-food supply chain,” he concluded.
AIC worked with the Crop Stakeholder Group and various AIC Committees over this period to ensure that the view of the whole supply chain was acknowledged.