UK farming leaders have demanded clear and urgent action from the government, industry and EU, to deliver a “seismic change” in the way food is sold.
Warning that farming is current in a “state of emergency”, the leaders of no fewer than eight UK farming and land-owning organisations urged farm ministers across the UK to meet urgently to address the fact that “something has gone fundamentally wrong” with the nation’s food supply chain.
“Government needs to take action to ensure that contracts to all farmers are longer-term and fairer in apportioning risk and reward,” said a joint statement from the eight bodies. “At the moment in many contracts all the risk is put on the farmer with very little of the reward.
“Government also needs to urgently ensure that rules are put in place regarding labelling so that it is clear and obvious which products are imported and which are British. We are all looking for government to ensure that British products are marketed abroad and that new markets are opened up for our high quality British food.”
The statement also pinpointed the following key messages:
- To retailers: “Stop devaluing fresh British food purely to get customers through the door. Start demonstrating right now how you are ensuring that ALL the food you are selling comes from a farm which has been paid a fair price.”
- To the EU: “There is an emergency meeting of the Council of Agriculture Ministers on September 7 and we are calling for UK ministers to stand up for British farming at that meeting.”
- To the British public: “Please keep asking retailers what they are doing to ensure their farmers receive a fair price and above all keep buying British.”
- To Farmers: “Keep being visible. Keep the British public on our side.
The statement was backed by the NFU, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru and Ulster Farmers Union together with FFA, TFA, CLA and NFYFC.