More news comes from farmers in Northern Ireland, where food producers in all sectors are effectively combining, commissioning fact-finding research, and entering effectively into dialogue with Stormont, before forthcoming elections.
Farmers For Action and Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association are continuing to meet political parties and Independents in the wake of the Gosling Report, which makes the case for legislation on farm gate prices by Stormont as soon as possible.
The office of MLA Jim Allister was the venue for a meeting to put forward the idea of his TUV party and as many others as possible, including independents, adding legislation on farmgate prices to their manifesto in the lead up to May’s election.
This party leader, a barrister, “proved to be well informed about just how bad things are down on the farm and is considering his parties support for this proposal very seriously indeed”, commented William Taylor.
Political Concern reported on an earlier press release, in which Farmers For Action UK NI’s co-ordinator William Taylor says, ‘beef and sheep farmers across UK and Ireland are at a crossroads of financial survival.’ As large food processors, large food retailers and large food wholesalers expand relentlessly, farmers are increasingly being forced to cut back farm investments due to reducing margins.
The Gosling Report clearly states the prosperity, jobs and welfare savings that legislation on farm gate prices would create for Northern Ireland.
All who see the importance of retaining and increasing the production of wholesome food in Britain admire this cohesive and determined lobbying and would like to see it replicated in Scotland, England and Wales.
A statement has been sent to BBC Spotlight’s TV programme producers which outlined two years’ work done by NIAPA and FFA UK NI with Stormont politicians and the Agriculture Committee. It is now ‘packaged’ with the economist Paul Gosling’s report, ready for the new Government after the election.
The farm group’s biggest difficulty is trying to get the wider media, the politicians and the general public to make the link:
“Prosperity begins with the land and innovation and Northern Ireland’s largest industry is currently disintegrating because of a lack of a fair price due to the financially abusive dominant position of large corporate food retailers, large corporate food wholesalers and to a lesser extent large food processors”.
If the NI campaign succeeds in “heading towards legislation on farm gate prices” after the election, many share William Taylor’s hope that this will create a domino effect so that all the members of Fairness for Farmers in Europe in England, Scotland, Wales and Southern Ireland will campaign for such legislation.