Ginsters opens agricultural academy

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Related tags: Cornwall

Cornish pasty giant Ginsters has teamed up with Duchy College to launch the UK’s first agricultural academy - aimed at strengthening supplier...

Cornish pasty giant Ginsters has teamed up with Duchy College to launch the UK’s first agricultural academy - aimed at strengthening supplier relations, maximising farmers’ yields and improving the quality of ingredients.

The initiative will integrate local farmers more fully into the supply chain, making it easier for Ginsters to buy ingredients, explained Ginsters purchasing manager Laurence Oldman. The trade-off for suppliers was more stability and increased business.

“The academy marks a departure from the traditional manufacturer-supplier relationship,” he said. “It takes local sourcing one step further down the chain.”

Part of the academy’s work will be to help farmers modify their goods to maximise yield and quality - for example, by introducing higher levels of protein by growing selective varieties of milling wheat, he added.

Duchy College will provide web and work-based tuition to all farmers, and possibly growers, in the group. The web portal will detail information on areas such as yields and new crop requirements.

The company expects an increase in its supplies during 2007 as a direct result of the venture. This year Ginsters bought 9,000t of vegetables and wheat from Cornish farms totalling £1.6M.

“We want to increase the volume of materials coming out of Cornwall and into Ginsters products. That’s something we can achieve quite quickly,” said Oldman.

Phil LeGrice, director of trials and research at Duchy College added: “This initiative establishes a link between farming and food, needed not just in Cornwall, but the whole of the UK.”

Kernow Grain chairman Mike Hambly said the relationship gave growers a better understanding of the requirements of all parties in the supply chain.

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