Grocery market leader Tesco will today unveil a sales target of £1 billion of locally produced food by 2011.

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy is expected to reveal the ambition in a speech at the National Farmers’ Union annual conference today. The grocer hopes to sell£400 million of local produce in this year alone.

Leahy is expected to tell the conference: “More customers want produce that is fresh and contributes to the local economy. They want to help local farmers and to know how the product was produced.”

However, Tesco’s new targets failed to placate critics in the NFU, who want secure long-term supply arrangements for beef, lamb and pork. An NFU spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: “We’ve been talking to Tesco for years, but it has steadfastly refused to do anything. What it is not doing is entering into long-term agreements.”