‘Don’t dare take the UK’s 220,000 farming family businesses for granted’!
That was the strong message coming from Farmers For Action’s NI co-ordinator William Taylor after Government Minister Chris Grayling MP’s comments on the recent Andrew Marr Show, suggesting that the UK’s farmers would simply produce more food to keep food prices down in the unlikely event that Brexit discussions result in a no deal situation, thereby, pushing us into a WTO tariff situation.
Mr Taylor continued: “The fact is that the UK government is at a crossroads with EU negotiations on Brexit and the UK’s farmers are also at a crossroads.
“Whether Brexit succeeds or fails, they still face the food corporates in relation to poor farm gate prices. That crossroads for the UK’s farmers is that since the second world war they have got super efficient and embraced new technology continuously and supplied the lion’s share of the food to feed the nation 24/7 to date, only now to receive farm gate prices equivalent to 30 years ago in many cases while the food corporate retailers, food corporate wholesalers and to a lesser extent food corporate processors fill their pockets.
“The Government now needs to treat farm gate prices equally as seriously as Brexit, as potential young farmers and their families to be, are not willing to enter an industry only to lose money and work 24/7 by intensively farming.
“The solution for the UK’s farmers, where the average age is now close to 60, is for the UK government if it wants to maintain current food production not to mention increase, is to introduce legislation across the staples on farm gate prices such as that being proposed in Northern Ireland, see The Gosling Report. If this does not happen then the food corporates will continue to force cheap food including subsidy money from our farmers at ever decreasing values leaving more of our farmers bankrupt or quitting the industry.
“For those remaining and wishing to continue farming the alterative would be to go traditional or organic farming, in short, produce less, secure your farm by keeping off the intensive treadmill spiral of debt and receive a better price by producing less!”
Mr Taylor added: “To Government we say the choice is yours and equally as serious an issue as Brexit!”