Farming minister promises action as protests hit the capital

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More demonstrations took place earlier this week as a convoy of more than 100 tractors made its way through central London and past the Houses of Parliament.

The demonstration was organised by Save British Farming and Fairness for Farmers of Kent to highlight ‘the urgent need to protect food security. It is understood some protestors came from as far as the midlands and Northern Ireland.

The protests were widely reported in the national media, including the BBC so hopefully, the public is aware of farmers’ plight.

Ben Stickland, a third-generation farmer from West Sussex told the BBC; “I’m here for my future. There are multiple nails being put into this coffin built around us.”

He was joined by Colin Rayner, who has 2,000 acres of arable land across east Berkshire and south Buckinghamshire. He told the BBC that he had ‘no choice’ but to protest, saying that business was so bad that ‘this could be our last harvest’.

“We have been, as most farmers have been, living in our overdraft now for the last five years. We can’t see it getting any better – yields have plateaued, prices are dismal, our costs for raw materials are horrendous and the regulations that we have are mindboggling,” he said.

Farming minister Mark Spencer, who announced measures to limit land being taken out of food production for SFI on Monday 25th said: “We firmly back our farmers. British farming is at the heart of British trade, and we put agriculture at the forefront of any deals we negotiate, prioritising new export opportunities, protecting UK food standards and removing market access barriers.

“We’ve maintained the £2.4bn annual farming budget and recently set out the biggest ever package of grants which supports farmers to produce food profitably and sustainably.

“We are also looking at ways to further improve fairness in the supply chain, and have launched a consultation to make food labelling fairer, supporting British farmers and growers and ensuring high-quality British produce get the recognition they deserve.”

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