Speaking at the NFU Conference, NFU president Meurig Raymond has warned that completion between multiple retailers, coupled with delays to the Basic Payment, volatile markets and poor weather mean that UK farmers and growers face unparalleled financial pressures.
He called for ‘actions to back the words’ from Defra on its 25-year plan for food and farming, which has been mooted for several months. Mr Raymond said, “British farming has felt blow after blow in recent years – one thing I know for sure is there is no possible way that any sector can carry on in the same vein. Farmers borrowed a £17.8billion from banks in 2015 – a record high. This paints a picture for the many businesses having the profit squeezed out of them. Viable businesses cannot continue operating without profit and farms are no exception.
“We are calling on the government to provide the tools our sector needs to overcome the challenges and ensure they thrive. The 25-year food and farming plan must address the fundamental issues of productivity and competitiveness. It needs to see a culture change about how we value food and farming.”
In her speech, Defra Secretary Liz Truss agreed, “Farmers here in Britain have faced a tough year.” However, while she promoted a number of technical innovations and research spending, she said little about addressing unsustainable market prices.
Photo Credit: Richard Crowhurst