Central storage co-operative Camgrain has extended its strategic grain marketing agreement with Frontier Agriculture for a second five-year term.

Left to right: John Latham and Mark Aitchison.

The two businesses started working together from harvest 2015 – this year’s harvest will be the last under that agreement with the new deal starting from the 2020 cereals marketing year.

Camgrain chairman John Latham announced the agreement at the company’s Collaboration and Co-operation open day at its Balsham site near Cambridge this week. “This is a positive and long-term strategic partnership, he said. “We are delighted to extend our relationship which we believe has delivered exceptional value to our members.”

Frontier managing director Mark Aitchison added: “We believe this is great news for all involved in this partnership – Camgrain and its farmer members; Frontier; and the wider supply chain.

Mr Aitchison opened a session on supply chain partnerships, using Liverpool Football Club’s recent Champions League semifinal victory to illustrate how teamwork can overcome seemingly insuperable odds. Collaboration between businesses along the food supply chain can combat industry consolidation, political uncertainty and currency volatility, he explained. At the same time, it allows companies to meet the increasing consumer awareness and demand for food and drink provenance and sustainability.

The supply chain is restructuring, he continued, from the traditional pyramid with the farmer at the bottom to a venn diagram model with a more equal relationship between farmers, merchants and the food industry.

“It’s absolutely clear to us at Frontier that we are stronger and better prepared to succeed because we are a collaborative business. The partnership we’ve created with Camgrain is built on a number of key success factors; cultural fit and shared values, complementary skills and expertise, shared assets, and a commitment to creating value which is investment and solution driven. It allows scale and expertise to be leveraged to obtain good value for farmer members.

Robin Sundaram, sustainable sourcing lead for Nestle, outlined work with its dairy farm suppliers through the First Milk co-operative to improve their productivity, sustainability and profitability and that of its of its milk supplies. The manufacturer is now using this experience to address its cereal supplies through its Landscape Environmental Networks – aiming to protect soil health and the wider environment while producing profitable and sustainable cereal ingredients.

The final presentation was from Kevin Ball, managing director of the new Yelo rapeseed crushing plant adjacent to Camgrain’s Stratford store, with all seed sourced through Frontier and stored at Camgrain.

He outlined how this collaboration enabled Yelo to concentrate on its processing activity, secure in the quality and availability of seed supply to its plant. There is strength through each business working to its own specialisms, he noted.