Rural dealers affected by foot and mouth crisis

Dealers selling into rural areas have seen orders drop off as customers become inaccessible and tighten their purse strings...

Dealers selling into rural areas have seen orders drop off as customers become inaccessible and tighten their purse strings because of the foot and mouth outbreak.

The disease, which has shut down large parts of the countryside, has started to have an effect on dealers selling to farmers and rural hoteliers.

The main areas affected by the crisis include locations around Carlisle, Devon, Cornwall and East Wales.

Fleur Hart, general manager at Roy Hart Computers in Tiverton, Devon, said the foot and mouth outbreak had caused the company’s order pipeline from farmers to dry up.

“This has definitely affected us. We deal with a lot of farms so our order book will suffer and that will cause cashflow problems. Also, because farmers don’t like us going to them, we can’t do things such as on-site problem-solving,” she said.

Barry Maxey, sales director at Carlisle-based telecom reseller, On Line Systems, claimed it had seen a reduction in business from hotels since the crisis began.

“We usually see a surge of business at this time of year from hotels [with the Easter holidays looming], but the orders have not come in and there is nothing happening,” he said.

Networking distributor EquIP, which is based in converted farm estate buildings in Hampshire, faced refusal by some courier companies to go onto its site to pick up stock.

“We had to fill up our own cars and take it off the farmland,” recalled joint managing director, Neil Ledger, who added that it has now opened a warehouse that is not on farmland.

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