UK farm ministers have acknowledged that the supply chain is not working and that urgent measures are required to address the immediate farming crisis, which is “impacting most farmers across the board”, according to a statement issued by the UK farming unions.
Speaking after the conclusion of a second summit in London yesterday with UK ministers, the four UK farm union presidents said that the talking is now over and that it’s time for action.
“We cannot allow the meltdown in the farming industry to continue,” declared a joint union statement. “The Secretary of State (Liz Truss) and the devolved agricultural ministers have today acknowledged the threats facing the farming industry and the need for urgent action and our farming members now expect to see these words followed up with visible, tangible actions.”
Ms Truss later described the meeting as having been “helpful and productive” while Scottish farm minister, Richard Lochhead, said urgent action was need at a Scottish, UK and EU level to support the industry.
One immediate point of agreed farm union/government action is to work together on a list of commitments that supermarkets and the food service sector will be asked to sign up to, in support of the farming industry.
This will include agreeing commitments on issues such as branding, contracts and sourcing, initially targeted at the milk sector but with a view to extending it to other products in due course.
The summit also produced agreement on the fact that part of the solution to the current farm price crisis lies with Europe, with all parties committing to drawing up a list of UK demands to deal with volatility and build resilience into the industry. This will be done ahead of the planned emergency EU farming summit which is due to be held in Brussels on September 7.