Melon Farmers Want Slice of Chain Business

Jul 16, 2003

By George Anderson

A report on the WLOX News Web site says watermelon farmers in Mississippi are upset about their inability to get large chain stores to purchase from them.

Farmer Clarence Lee told WLOX, “The chain stores will not buy our produce. They ship it in from out of state.” Mr. Lee claims independent grocers and smaller chains have been more willing to do business with local growers.

A spokesperson for Great Atlantic and Pacific’s Save-A-Center business told WLOX it requires farmers to insure merchandise with a $5 million liability bond. The company also requires all products to go through its warehouse in New Jersey for inspection before being shipped to stores.

Moderator’s Comment: Are the policies of large chains
excessively restrictive when it comes to buying produce from local farmers or
are they a necessary safeguard to protect consumers and the grocery store?

The answer is yes on both counts. Finding the right balance
is the real trick.
Anderson – Moderator

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