MPs will debate whether to amend the Grocery Supply Code of Practice to make it fairer for farmers, it has been confirmed.

Parliament will debate the issue on January 22, 2024, after 100,000 people signed a petition urging retailers and their suppliers to treat British farmers more fairly.

An open letter was sent to the CEOs of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi, and Lidl over two months ago warning that the farming industry was on its knees.

Campaigners behind the #GetFairAboutFarming campaign want the UK's largest supermarkets to adopt new principles as a way of spreading fair trade across the industry more widely.

The campaign's supporting petition has reached over 100,000 signatures in the website, meaning the threshold has passed for MPs to debate the issue.

One of the key asks from the campaign is for the government to amend the Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCP).

This would see supermarkets required to buy what they agreed to buy, pay what they agreed to pay, and pay on time, without exception.

A Defra response to the petition confirms that parliament will debate the matter on 22 January 2024 and the public will able to watch proceedings online.

Defra said: "The government is committed to tackling contractual unfairness that can exist in the agri-food supply chain and Defra is working to support farmers and ensure they get a fair price for their products.

"We announced a new review into fairness in the horticulture supply chain building on what we have already got underway to improve transparency and contracts in the pork and dairy markets.

"Beginning in December, we will launch a public consultation exploring these issues."

Guy Singh-Watson, founder of Riverford Organic who launched the campaign, said there was a clear message being sent to the big six and the government to safeguard the future of British farmers.

He said: “Despite the encouraging public support, the lack of a mere acknowledgement from the ‘big six’ is insulting at a time when British agriculture is on its knees.

“Our countryside is being desecrated because that’s the only way you can produce ‘cheap food’ and farmers in my sector are not being paid fairly.

“The pressure further increases on supermarkets to act now and avoid having their poor practices exposed to the nation in a debate in parliament.”