The Young Greens staged a protest at Queen’s University yesterday concerning the presence of Tesco Chief Executive Philip Clark formally opening the new Institute for Global Food Security. The New Institute at Queen’s aims to play a leading role in making sure that the world’s growing population has a sustainable, safe and secure supply of high quality food however the Young Greens at QUB felt it necessary to protest at the presences of Tesco Chief Executive Phillip Clark.
A statement was later released on behalf of the Green Party of Northern Ireland.
“In light of the recent Tesco burgers horse meat scandal, we protested today to highlight the real need for better food security and better regulations in the production and manufacturing of the food supply chain.
“While we applaud Queen’s University for this innovative new Institute to tackle global food inequality, we take exception to Mr Clark opening it,” Green Party European Candidate Ross Brown said.
“We feel that Mr Clark should not have been afforded the kudos of opening this prestigious centre at Queen’s given the recent horse meat scandal and Tesco’s other business practices which have contributed to undermining our food security.
“The drive for unrealistically low supply prices has led to intensive agriculture practices which have compromised animal welfare, unethical business practices, and food safety and have driven many small farmers out of business.”
Evidence has been consolidated by a Competition Commission investigation which reveals that Tesco consistently pay suppliers nearly 4% below the average price paid by other retailers yet there isn’t much evidence to prove that Tesco pass these savings on to their consumers.
The New Economics Foundation has also shown that fresh fruit and veg is, on average, 30% cheaper at a street market than it is in a supermarket. However, through short term aggressive pricing when they first move into an area, Tesco often shuts down these markets, reducing access to fresh fruit and veg for the poorest.
Mr Brown established that, “The drive for unrealistically low supply prices has led to intensive agriculture practices which have compromised animal welfare, unethical business practices, and food safety and have driven many small farmers out of business.”
Mr Brown believes that Answers lie in sustainable agriculture, the re-localisation and shortening of food supply chains, more robust regulation and greater self-reliance on a regional and local basis.