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Gildernew keeps Supermarket contact top of agenda

12 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has held a range of discussions with several major supermarkets to maintain a strong representation of the local industry's concerns.

Today the Minister met with ASDA representatives Chris Brown and Michael McCallion at the company's Enniskillen store to discuss the ASDA business in the North of Ireland and their policy on sourcing local food.

Speaking after the meeting Ms Gildernew said:

"Today's meeting has offered me a great opportunity to find out more about the ASDA business here and to raise some of the issues currently affecting the profitability of our industry. The Red Meat Industry Task Force indicated that beef and sheep producers were making significant losses. In addition, the escalating cost of feed stuffs in particular, is a real concern for everyone."

The meeting with ASDA follows discussions earlier this week with Sir Terry Leahy, Chief Executive of Tesco and Justin King, Chief Executive of Sainsbury. In addition, the Minister met with representatives from the 6 County Grain Trade Association (NIGTA) to discuss the current supply of feeding stuffs and the factors that were causing the present increase in prices.

Stressing the importance of these meetings, the Minister said:

"At a time when our industry is under so many different pressures it is important that communication takes place regularly with all supply chain partners. Only by doing this are we likely to find a way forward for our industry. I view these meetings as part of a process to encourage greater co-operation throughout the supply chain and ultimately to obtain some fresh thinking on how to meet the challenges we currently face." ENDS

Note to Editors

  1. The Minister wrote to Tesco, Sainsbury, ASDA, M & S, Musgrave Group, Henderson Group, Dunnes Stores, Curleys and Co-Op last month on the issue of input costs.
  2. Chris Brown is Head of Ethical and Sustainable Sourcing for ASDA Supermarkets Ltd and Michael McCallion is their NI Trading Manager.

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