The UK supermarket chain has invested £2 million in a year-long scheme that will fully cover the costs of participating farmers.
Potato and carrot farmers have been the first to take advantage of the trial, with the produce growing now set to appear on supermarket shelves later this year and in early 2024.
One carrot farm and three potato farms are currently receiving the support. Morrisons will analyse the success of the scheme before deciding whether to roll it out further next year.
The trial was designed to help farmers mitigate the impact of rising field rents and fertiliser prices, while also managing the poor weather conditions seen in the UK over the summer.
‘Best quality British produce’
Senior buying manager for root vegetables, Gareth Cosford, said that Morrisons was conscious of supporting farmers through a difficult period.
“Our trial scheme allows us to take all the risk associated with growing the crop away from our farmers and continue to grow the best quality British produce that our customers know and love,” Cosford added.
Naish Farms is one of the three potato producers participating in the trial. Reflecting on the arrangement with Morrisons, director Andrew Naish said: “Morrisons already buy our whole crop of potatoes from us, taking the top-quality and also misshapen or oversized ones and making them available to customers as part of their naturally wonky range to maximise our return and offering the best value to their customers.
“In farming there are ups and downs throughout the season. For us we are seeing greater weather challenges which may impact our crops and by being part of this new Morrisons trial, they’re underwriting our growing costs to cushion us from the associated risks and provide supply security so that we can focus on growing the very best potatoes for their customers.”
Morrisons works directly with more than 2,700 farmers and growers throughout the UK and is a sponsor for Farm 24, one of the nation’s biggest farming events which takes place this month (August 2023).
In other news, a project led by researchers at Harper Adams University has gained £1m in funding to start work on a fully modular insect farm.