FFA hits out over New Zealand and Australia trade deals

Farmers For Action (FFA) says the recent trade deals signed with Australia and New Zealand are examples example of Boris Johnston and his ‘deceitful government’s’ hand at work!

FFA co-ordinator William Taylor said: “It is clear this government and many corporate food retailers couldn’t care less about climate change, they couldn’t care less about farmers across these islands and couldn’t care less about Australian and New Zealand farmers. They only care about corporate profit.”

He added:“What will now happen is that the corporate food retailers and food wholesalers will play Australia and New Zealand food off against home produce and drive down prices in both regions. Meanwhile farmers will, yet again, be the fall guys.”

According to Taylor, the current UK government continues to break every commonsense part of the Paris Climate Change Accord. He specifically referenced the additional food miles notched-up courtesy of food imported into the UK from Australia and New Zealand.

He said: “All farming organisations must stand up to this government and make it clear that whatever action is needed will be taken to expose the amount of unnecessary fossil fuel required to construct the additional ships and lorries needed to transport food from the southern hemisphere into the UK.”

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Taylor went on to confirm that the UK is already more than self sufficient in lamb, adding:“So why do we need to bring in additional sheep meat from Australia and New Zealand? This just doesn’t make sense.”

And then there is the cost of actually fuelling the ships and lorries involved in the transport of produce from the southern hemisphere into this part of the world.

The FFA representative concluded: “Fossil fuels are responsible for 75% of the world’s emissions. So it seems that the vast majority the world’s corporates intend to carry on fiddling while Rome burns.”

William Taylor concluded: “How dare this Government suggest that people need to eat less of the meat that is produced across these islands to the highest standards of sustainability.

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“FFA fully supports Fairness for Farmers in Europe as that organisation seeks urgent meetings at the highest level in Westminster on these issues.

“It is time for action to stop this madness!”

Commenting on the trade deal agreement in principle between the UK and New Zealand, UFU president Victor Chestnutt said:“UK farming and local food production has been completely undermined by this New Zealand trade deal.

Combined with the Australia agreement at the beginning of this year, government has granted access to a significant increase of imported food allowing it into our market, with no guarantees about how it was produced or if it meets our world leading standards. To make the situation all the more dire, nothing of substance was gained for our farmers.
“The future of our unique farm family structure across Northern Ireland has become very vulnerable overnight as it could be severely damaged by the market access government has granted to both New Zealand and Australia. It’s extremely concerning for our red meat, dairy and horticulture farm sectors and for the public. Our consumers who take pride in supporting local farmers for the work that they do producing high-quality, trustworthy, local food, looking after the environment and boosting employment in rural areas, have been sold-out too.”
He added:“No attempt of communication was made by government as to how they would work to protect our local food production while trying to get a trade deal with New Zealand over the line. Farm businesses across Northern Ireland and the whole of the UK, are already enduring substantially higher input costs in comparison to those farmers on the other side of the world and are dealing with ongoing labour availability. It seems that government are either oblivious to what farmers are dealing with or have chosen to dismiss it as they have created unfair competition within our home market which will affect the sustainability of our family farms in years to come.
“Now going forward, government is expecting our farmers to maintain the same high standards while meeting raising production costs and compete against two of the biggest exporting countries in the world minus the long-term, appropriate agri support that is needed to be able to do this. New Zealand and Australia are renowned world exporters because of the strategic farming investments made by their governments, the UK needs to adopt a similar approach to safeguard and strengthen our agri-food production.”