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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Farming Unions Urge Government to Prioritise Food Security

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At the annual UK farming unions summit on Friday (22 March) hosted by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) at the Lough Erne Resort, Co. Fermanagh, NFU Scotland, UFU, NFU and NFU Cymru, alongside the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), stressed the need for governments to back farming and food production.

In a joint statement, the UK farming unions said:

“To safeguard our nation’s food security we need to build profitability and resilience into our farm businesses.

“This requires a closer partnership between farmers and politicians, so we can continue to produce the high-quality food that consumers expect, while delivering for the environment and economy.

“Across the UK, there must be a balanced approach at a policy level, not just to look at the environmental side of agriculture, but at the economic and social consequences of agricultural production.

“Farmers cannot be sacrificed for other societal objectives.

“They are essential to a healthy world and a healthy population.”

Commenting specifically on the current situation regarding agricultural policy in Wales, the Unions said:

“Proposals around a new farming scheme are presently being consulted on within Wales, which is causing huge concern and unrest amongst Welsh famers.

“Many farmers fear that the proposals, as they stand, are unworkable and unless a different approach is taken these plans will severely impact the ambitions of the sector and its viability.

“We stand in support of our Welsh colleagues as they look to develop alternative approaches.”                                            

On demands for politicians ahead of a General Election, the Unions added:

“Investing in our farming and growing sector is essential for productivity, job creation, and economic and environmental delivery.

“This year we will see where all UK parties stand on support for local agriculture.

“Food security must be a top priority for any government, and we need unwavering commitment for local farming and food production from all UK parties. 

“Processors, retailers and the food service sector also need to get behind domestic food production.

“We need them to help us to achieve fairness in the supply chain and not to undermine our market.

“Consumers have recently been very clear in communicating this at retail level having made the distinction between local and imported food which our farmers appreciate greatly.

“Other key discussion points included labour, trade standards, TB, new agricultural support policies, land tenure and environmental targets.

“All are critical issues going forward for both the UK and Ireland.

“We will continue to work together to navigate these challenging times and grasp the opportunities, ensuring a sustainable and viable agricultural industry going forward.”

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