Farmers' voices 'must be heard'

The Westmorland Gazette: John Geldard John Geldard

A SOUTH Lakeland-based sheep industry leader has this week called for a new farming alliance to be created to tackle food chain problems in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

John Geldard, chairman of the National Sheep Association, said farming groups should get together to provide a voice to make sure ministers listen to the views of food producers.

He has invited major UK agricultural organisations and unions to a ‘summit’ in London tomorrow (Fri-day) to discuss the issues.

“It is clear the farmer’s voice is not being heard well enough by the Government and farming ministers, yet we are the foundation of the food supply chain, without whom the consumer would be hungry,” said Mr Geldard, who farms at Low Foulshaw, Levens.

“The horsemeat scandal and lack of consultation in finding solutions and future-proofing secure food supplies shows existing communication between farmers and the Government is inadequate.

“I see this as the catalyst to create a new alliance of farmer organisations that can support Government in meeting our future food challenges.

“We have tried hard to promote the food security warnings of the UK’s chief scientific advisor, and the horsemeat scandal is evidence that Government has failed to listen.

“It is a shameful disgrace that on January 1, 2012 they failed to support UK egg producers when they were ready for the ban on battery cages and the rest of Europe wasn’t.

“And that on January 1, 2013, our Government and Brussels failed to implement the law and protect the UK pig producers who were working within it. And that for the last two to three months sheep farmers, already strug-gling with the impact of the weather on lamb prices, were unknowingly competing with horsemeat distorting the market.

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“These are all reasons why the farming industry should not be prepared to just listen to messages from the Government and Food Standards Agency to retailers, but needs to stand up and present our own case to protect both ourselves and consumers.”

Comments (2)

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4:39pm Sun 17 Feb 13

Milkbutnosugarplease says...

Excellent stuff, but how many MPs, ministers or civil servants have direct experience of farming? Very few, I would guess.
Excellent stuff, but how many MPs, ministers or civil servants have direct experience of farming? Very few, I would guess. Milkbutnosugarplease
  • Score: 0

10:28am Mon 18 Feb 13

colandvanfull says...

for a few years now we have been buying our meat from a local farm butchers, the two reasons for this are simple , you know what and where it came from and the quality is far better.

one thing I do know if we had a buy british campain right now, it would do a great deal of good for our 63.000 farmers in this country,
every british product should have a great big unionjack slaped upon it,
and if everybody asked for local produce the supermarkets would change for the better ,the reason they sell you all this s**t ,is because
YOU keep buying it.
for a few years now we have been buying our meat from a local farm butchers, the two reasons for this are simple , you know what and where it came from and the quality is far better. [ it does not shrink to half it's size when cooked] one thing I do know if we had a buy british campain right now, it would do a great deal of good for our 63.000 farmers in this country, every british product should have a great big unionjack slaped upon it, and if everybody asked for local produce the supermarkets would change for the better ,the reason they sell you all this s**t ,is because YOU keep buying it. colandvanfull
  • Score: 0

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