Oxfam report claims hill farming families 'going hungry to feed sheep' (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Oxfam report claims hill farming families 'going hungry to feed sheep'
11:08am Saturday 13th October 2012 in News
A SHOCK Oxfam report has revealed that hill farming families are going without food so they can afford to feed their livestock.
The charity - which normally addresses hunger issues in places like sub-Saharan Africa - says in a report, Challenges Facing Farmers, that cash flow problems have forced hill farmers to cut back on the weekly grocery bill as well as slashing other costs to keep their farms viable.
The report's launch yesterday prompted Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron to call for urgent government action to help upland farming families in areas like Cumbria and the Dales.
He said: "This report is shocking but sadly puts in print what many of us know already, that many hill famers are are working 80 hour weeks and living under the poverty line. These farmers tend our uplands and make sure our spectacular, world class landscape is maintained and accessible.
"It is vital that those farmers are fairly rewarded for their work and that the unfair market in which they operate is transformed so that we have fair trade for British farmers. Government must ensure real action for our upland farmers.”
Quoting official figures, Mr Farron said a single working-age adult living in a village needed to earn at least £19,820 in order to meet their needs. But some farmers in the uplands had an income of £12,600 - with a number earning as little as £8,000 a year.