Farmers in Kent hold slow tractor protest against food imports

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Another tractor rally was held in Canterbury earlier this week to protest against cheap food imports and to demand better treatment in the food production supply chain.

Over 240 tractors took part in the “go slow” protest on Sunday 2 March, driving around Canterbury for more than three hours.

The group, known as Fairness for Farmers, say that the Agriculture Act of 2020, sparce import controls and poor trade deals negotiated by former foreign secretary Liz Truss could be leading to a British food crisis.

It comes following similar stands made around the country, including a slow-moving vehicle protest in Dover last month ran by the same group to protest against low supermarket prices.

Geoffrey Philpott, a cauliflower farmer based in east Kent, said that he wanted to ensure that he produced the “highest-quality, safest, healthiest food for the UK market”, Farmers Weekly reports.

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“We should be banning substandard imports that aren’t held to the same high standards as UK production and can, in many cases, have chemicals used on them that are banned in the UK.

“I am proud to have a Union flag on all my produce, but why is it foreign produce that is packed in the UK can have a Union flag on it? The only reason is to deceive the public into believing it’s the healthiest and safest food you can buy.”

A statement released by Defra in response to the action 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 barrier access.”

However, despite their claims to support UK growers, there is still widespread anger over the low prices that farmers receive from retailers, and growing worry over recent changes to farming policy.

In Wales, the BBC reports that a mass peaceful protest is being held in Cardiff, where over 5,500 wellies were placed outside the Senedd to make a stand against recent controversial changes to their Sustainable Farming Scheme.

Fairness for Farmers are now considering taking their next protest to Westminster.

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