A report published by a cross-party group of MPs acknowledges the threats facing the farming industry but positive, visible and tangible action must now be taken, the NFU said today.
The EFRA report warns that farmers in the UK are at risk of suffering further cash flow problems if the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) does not commit to fixing ongoing issues with its IT systems. The NFU says it welcomes the EFRA committee’s recommendation to the RPA which states it ‘must return to paying at least 90 per cent of BPS monies by the end of December each year.’
Commenting on this recommendation, NFU President Meurig Raymond says: “This will alleviate the financial turmoil that thousands of farmers have been and still are feeling. And we will be pushing this recommendation in our own discussions with the RPA.”
Commenting on the wider report, Mr Raymond continues: “The fall in prices and associated cash-flow problems are the biggest challenges currently facing our farmer members. And we’re not expecting the market situation to get better anytime soon.
“We are pleased that the EFRA committee has listened to our evidence and to others from across the supply chain and produced this wide-ranging report.
“There is no quick-fix. However the report identifies a range of recommendations that can help in the short-term and not leave the industry so exposed in the future. Our members now expect to see this swiftly followed up with positive, visible and tangible actions.
“It is vital that the industry comes together to deliver these recommendations to support farmers through these difficult times. We want to see genuine improvements, transparency and commitment to give farmers more confidence.
“Pricing models, long term relationships, contracts, producer organisations and a greater emphasis on export opportunities for British agriculture are all tools which can be used by government and the supply chain. Using these tools will help the agri-food sector through this period of uncertainty and the whole supply chain better combat volatility.
The EFRA Select Committee report into farmgate prices comes after a three month enquiry to which the NFU provided evidence.