Zaandam, the Netherlands – This morning, Albert Jan Maat and Hans Huijbers of the Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture (LTO by its Dutch acronym) and Wilco de Jong of the Dutch Young Farmers Organization resumed talks with Albert Heijn’s Managing Director Sander van der Laan started earlier this week. The talks were prompted by the news that Albert Heijn was to pay its suppliers 2% less for their products. The news caused a great deal of upset among farmers and horticulturalists, as they fear that the 2% cut will end up hurting food producers.
At the talks, LTO called on Albert Heijn to live up to its image as the country’s reliable and sustainable supermarket, and to help ensure sustainable food production in the short and long term by implementing effective sustainability programs focusing on production methods, food value and food quality. This can only be achieved if consumers, supermarkets, suppliers, farmers and horticulturalists all do their bit.
Albert Heijn regrets the upset caused by the tone and one-sided nature of the letter mooting the 2% cut. Sander van der Laan said: “Albert Heijn cherishes its long-term relationships with suppliers and sets great store by a sustainable retail chain. It wants all links in the chain to make a decent living.”
To ensure this, Albert Heijn and LTO this morning agreed that they will initiate round-table talks with the relevant stakeholders to discuss relations between supermarkets and farmers & growers. AH and LTO are inviting supermarkets and other stakeholders to join the initiative.
In addition, Albert Heijn and LTO will commission an independent research institute to analyze the relationship between farmers, horticulturalists (primary producers) and the supermarkets. This analysis will then inform the agenda for the round-table talks.
LTO and the Dutch Young Farmers Organization are pleased with the outcome of the meeting. LTO’s Albert Jan Maat said: “Our key priorities are sustainable food production and a fair price for farmers and horticulturalists. Today’s agreement is a step in the right direction.”