The organisation warned than many supermarket shelves this Easter would be packed with lamb that was “produced thousands of miles away, deep chilled and shipped for six to eight weeks halfway around the world”.
But the German discount chain had distinguished itself for pledging to sell only British lamb this Easter – traditionally the start of the British lamb season, when home-grown fresh lamb hits the supermarket shelves.
‘Only Aldi, of the leading supermarkets’
“Only Aldi, of the leading supermarkets, will be selling 100% home-grown fresh lamb this Easter. Aldi has also joined the list of organisations that have signed the NFU’s Back British Farming Charter.”
NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe urged other supermarkets to follow Aldi’s lead.
“Retailers can ensure that shoppers have access to fresh British lamb by making their sourcing commitments clear to allow farmers to plan ahead,” said the Leicestershire sheep farmer.
“The move by Aldi to back British farming is great news for consumers wanting home-grown lamb, and shows real support for British livestock producers.”
While the peak lambing season ran from March until May, sheep producers can produce lambs earlier provided they get sufficient notice and clear market signals, said the NFU. “However, we still have plenty of high quality lamb coming to market right now ready for the Easter trade,” it said.
The NFU boss urged shoppers to choose Red Tractor home-produced lamb this Easter. “Many shoppers will now be thinking about their Easter Sunday meal, which I hope will be fresh Red Tractor assured British lamb,” said Sercombe.
‘Support of the British public’
“For those farmers who take the risk to lamb early, the support of the British public for their product is essential. I urge consumers to choose fresh home-grown lamb this Easter.”
Meanwhile, about more than 1,000 angry farmers brought parts of central London to a standstill yesterday as they pleaded with the government to do more to help the nation’s struggling agricultural sector.
The farmers besieged Westminster in a protest over low farm prices organised by Farmers For Action (FFA).
Farmers For Action organiser and Monmouth dairy producer David Handley said: “We keep getting soundbites from ministers, saying they are listening and have a 25-year plan. But the majority of farmers here today want to know how they will get through the next 12 months.”
Handley added: “Falling prices across the industry are making production unsustainable. People cannot take this any longer.”