GLA chief harvests farm views
28th January 2013
A muddy leek field in North Nottinghamshire was the unusual venue for a meeting at which the Gangmasters Licensing Authority’s Paul Broadbent got to the root of some of the current challenges facing British farmers.
The chief executive was invited on an information-gathering trip, against the backdrop of the winter leek harvest in full swing in Ranby, near Retford. His host was John Hammond, of Hammond Produce Ltd - a long-standing a regular and frequent user of labour from GLA licensees.
“The farming business is new to me so I was very grateful that John and his team not only allowed me to see how they operate in the field but also shared with me the issues that currently affect his business and many other food producers", said Mr Broadbent.
“It was fascinating to hear about the numerous challenges that farmers face and John gave me an excellent and honest appraisal of his situation.
“I now understand much more about the pressures producers like him are being put under by big supermarket chains pushing for ever tighter margins. I also have a better understanding of the difficulties involved in finding good quality and reliable workers even in times of recession when the supply is plentiful.”
Mr Broadbent, who only took charge of the GLA last month, said it had been a very worthwhile trip and had helped to convince him the authority was performing valuable work.
“Seeing operations like the one I visited today - where the workers came from one of our licensed suppliers, were paid a decent wage and treated well - makes me more determined to tackle any producers out there that operate illegally.”
He added: “It is vital that farmers are given a level playing field so that those that play by the rules do not lose out to the ones who cut corners, exploit workers and break the law.”