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Farmers’ leader sends message to Theresa May’s Government

 

Don’t take the UK’s 220,000 farming family businesses for granted

Government Minister Chris Grayling MP (transport) commented on the recent Andrew Marr Show 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. A press release responding to this statement has been received from Farmers For Action’s NI co-ordinator William Taylor.

Farmers are receiving receive farmgate prices equivalent to those paid 30 years ago

“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 . . .

“Since the second world war they have got super efficient and embraced new technology continuously and supplied the lions’ 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 corporate retailers, corporate wholesalers and to a lesser extent corporate processors fill their pockets.

“The Government now needs to treat farmgate 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, if the UK government wants to maintain or increase current food production, is to introduce legislation across the staples on farm gate prices such as that being proposed in Northern Ireland (see The Gosling Report).

“To Government we say the choice – on an issue equally as serious as Brexit – is yours!”

“If this legislation is not introduced, food corporates will continue to force cheap food 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 alternative would be to go to 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!” 

Farmers For Action

56 Cashel Road, Macosquin, Coleraine, BT51 4NU

Tel. 028 703 43419 / 07909744624

Email taylor.w@btconnect.com

 

 

 

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Farmers For Action: Re Brexit –the farming facts from Northern Ireland

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William Taylor, FFA UK NI co-ordinator and co-ordinator of Northern Ireland Farm Groups gives the Brexit farming facts from a Northern Ireland perspective.

The EU was conceived in the 50’s after the terrible events of the Second World War by a Mr Monet, a Mr Schumann and others. It was modelled on the United States of America and had as its goal for Europe as the two PP’s, peace and prosperity. It has by and large been quite successful at delivering the peace including Northern Ireland.

Prosperity went well until the 1980s when the large food corporate retailers, the large food corporate wholesalers, to a lesser extent the large corporate food processors and the large co-op food processors, who behave like corporates, began to take over. They influenced the EU ship in the wheelhouse, persuading them to talk the talk but letting the corporates walk the walk, increasingly in their interest.

In short, the hard working family farms and rural businesses of rural Europe are being short changed in what they should expect from the Treaty of Rome, the Lisbon Treaty, the Maastricht Treaty, the Human Rights Laws and all the other EU promises to the people.

Article 39b of the Lisbon Treaty states in short, that rural dwellers are to be properly rewarded for their work but, as explained, we know in whose interest it is not to deliver this pledge. Today, 50% (ie peace) of what goes on in the EU is good, the other 50% is now corporate corrupt at the top (ie the missing prosperity for rural dwellers).

Then we come to Westminster, where we have seen the actions of successive UK governments since the 1980’s. As the corporate corrupt EU prosperity machine started financially milking farmers and rural dwellers, so did Westminster, again due to increasing food corporate influence including the bankers, to which even Blair’s new Labour became easily addicted – to date, although change may be afoot.

If proof were needed of this new 21st century UK politics, pillaging rural UK financially for the sake of food corporates’ profits, then look no further than the 2015 verdict by the Supermarket Ombudsman against Tesco. A few days after this, Vince Cable (past Lib Dem MP in the last Coalition Government) was interviewed by the BBC and asked what he thought of the outcome; he summed it up by saying, ‘when we were in Coalition we pushed hard for the Supermarket Ombudsman’s office to have increased powers but also the ability to fine the large supermarkets but the Tories wouldn’t hear tell of it – if the ability for the Supermarket Ombudsman to fine had been in place, Tesco would have been fined up to £400million.’

I ask you what chance does a family farm have of getting a fair price for their produce against the financial might and influence of these food corporates both in Westminster and Brussels, therefore, the Northern Ireland case for legislation on farm gate prices. Legislation on farm gate prices now having been worked on for over two years in Northern Ireland and shortly to be put to Stormont, if successful it would return farmers a minimum of the cost of production plus a margin inflation linked across the staples.

The case Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA) and Farmers For Action (FFA) in Northern Ireland are trying to put with this legislation is what Brussels should have done 20 years ago, were it not for the corporate influence otherwise and if this model proves successful then hopefully the idea will spread.

If we stay in the EU, we have a citizens of Europe entitled route all the way to Brussels and Strasbourg with this legislation plan. If we leave, the large food corporates will carry on business as usual on the 24th June and so far in Northern Ireland we cannot see a legal route being agreed with Westminster for legislation on farm gate prices any time soon. Yes, they may give subsidies like the ones we currently receive but do not forget these are worthless because the food corporates are taking them by stealth, therefore, in or out we need legislation on farm gate prices! Hopefully after reading this information the new slant on your farming rights within the EU will help you decide which way to vote.

Further evidence is available by reading the Gosling Report:  http://www.paulgosling.net/2016/01/on-the-eve-of-destruction-a-report-on-northern-irelands-farming-sector/ and its proof of prosperity for Northern Ireland, should the legislation succeed. This would deliver the missing Prosperity that the EU’s founders

“If we stay in the EU, we have a citizens of Europe entitled route all the way to Brussels and Strasbourg with this legislation plan. If we leave, the large food corporates will carry on business as usual . . .”

Contact William Taylor

56 Cashel Road, Macosquin, Coleraine, BT51 4NU

Tel. 028 703 43419 / 07909744624 Email taylor.w@btconnect.com

 

 

 

Large retailers ‘hold’ over food banks’ gives them even more political sway

A Lancashire reader writes: ”It would be excellent if donors to foodbanks chose to support local village or high street independents rather than buy their donated food from the large corporates.

“If someone stands to benefit from the purchase of the donated food, let it be the small and medium sized businesses that are of great value, as the money is likely to remain within the community instead of going to wealthy foreign investors like Warren Buffett who always profits from the little man and the poor.

”A PR exercise to boost the sales of the large corporate retailers, one in particular, is under way, as people flock to their stores to spend their money instore while also supporting “the cause” by buying extra items. Of course our favourite retailer – Not – will top up food donations by 30% on 5th & 6th July. Think of what they will earn on the rest of the shopping of the generous customers attracted to the project who may not have shopped there before.

 

MP Neil Parish at Tesco promotion

MP Neil Parish at Tesco promotion

 

(On the website of one such store we read that, “customers will be given special shopping lists to encourage them to buy everyday food items like cereals, rice, instant coffee, tinned food and sauces. Collections will take place between 9am – 6pm in Tesco stores).

The reader continues:

“I am very wary of the large retailers having such a hold over this project and taking over yet another controlling role giving them even more political sway than they have already.

“This may also provide an over-generous income stream for charity organisers commanding a lucrative salary and the often over-indulgent expenses connected with their work while the front lines are staffed with volunteers”.

 

Soapbox 499 – for the 99%: does government turn ‘a blind eye to corporate rule’ or aid and abet its food commodities masters?

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A dairy farmer writes:
Without a shadow of a doubt, the corporate-political nexus is definitely paving the way for factory farming.

The claim of corporate responsibility is a sham. It means nothing and is entirely dishonest.

Anything and everything is being used to beat family farmers and the small producer over the head, and producers who are encouraged to invest are being led into a dangerous trap.

Government promises of scrapping of quangos and regulations were meaningless and once a token gesture was accepted the quangos have gone into overdrive to help satisfy the pincer-like hold the corporates have over the family farmers and small to medium sized producers.

It is no coincidence there are 15% less farmers on supermarket aligned contracts in the last year and one by one dedicated contracts will be quietly dropped.

We are in the grip of large corporate retailers and two large foreign processors who, by stealth, are gradually forcing efficient small and medium sized producers out of business or trapping them into slavery by encouraging fruitless investment.

They are exposing producers to intense financial risk in the market as government turns a blind eye to corporate rule and practices such as price capping, unethical collusion behind the scenes.