The government ‘continues to champion Manx products’ in light of Tesco’s Shoprite buyout.
That’s according to Chief Minister Alfred Cannan, who was questioned in Tynwald this week on the impact that the Tesco takeover will have on local producers.
Mr Cannan told his colleagues: ‘I can reassure honourable members and the Manx community that there is a clear and demonstrable commitment from Tesco to source local produce and across government to help support the island’s food producers and farmers to achieve the highest level of accreditation required to supply their products to Tesco.’
‘Third party accreditation is required which is known generally as SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval) and there’s a further accreditation for egg suppliers.
‘The cost will then depend on what the need is.’
Yet, Douglas North MHK, Chris Thomas, said: ‘How much and how long did it take for Isle of Man Meats to get Tesco accreditation?
‘My recollection is that it was substantial time, substantial effort and substantial money.’
Mr Cannan responded by saying that the government needs to adopt a working partnership with Tesco.
He said: ‘One of the issues for us has been pricing, some reassurance has been given by Tesco that they will price with empathy in terms of their purchasing arrangements with local suppliers.
‘Tesco was keen to reassure me and the ministers that the pricing would be structured accordingly to ensure that local produce was encouraged onto their shelves and local farmers were not disadvantaged compared to the larger supply chain in the UK.’
‘We will be reaching out if we haven’t already to local farmers to understand their perspectives as well.’
‘We are also going to be looking at the opportunities to enhance the supply chain and perhaps give us more opportunities for our farmers and local producers.’
In the extensive debate on the matter, Mr Cannan was also asked about the 60 redundancies.
He said: ‘My understanding is that only 13 staff were directly affected on the day and that the other 47 or so jobs were to be transitioned over a period of time.’
He said that the redundancies were mostly central office jobs and on the basis of the type of jobs available in the economy at the moment, and the skills those employees likely had, his hope is that they should be able to find other employment.
He also said that the stores had been leased and that the Tesco will be taking over Shoprite’s warehouse.