LETTER: Farmers need a fair deal NOW

The recently announced delay in the launch of the Grocery Code Adjudicator (GCA) has further demonstrated the Government’s lack of commitment to agriculture and a secure UK food chain.

While farmers the length and breadth of this country toil hard to place a meal on the nation’s plate, the Minister of State and his cohorts are paying the industry nothing more than lip service.

The written assurance we received from the Minister of State only two months ago assured us the GCA would be quickly established, by May 2011, and this renewed delay has delivered yet another blow to an industry already in crisis. If UK agriculture is to play a leading role over the next decade then fair play across the grocery supply chain must prevail; unfair and unequal share of profits are stifling most farms in the UK.

The margin retained at retailer level is disproportionate and unfair. How any farmer can be expected to work long hours in arduous, often dangerous conditions only to see the big retailers profit so unashamedly from his labours is still beyond me. We need a fair deal now before this beautiful landscape is changed forever. The Government has a duty to see fair play and must not delay any further in establishing the GCA. It is time for our Parliamentary members to serve us.

No other industry operates at the sort of losses agriculture does, no other worker is paid less than the minimum wage and nowhere else can we find the food we need as a nation so securely than here at home. While the few make merry at the expense of the many, the wine is running dry. What will they drink tomorrow?

IAN O’REILLY,

Lower Gazegill Farm, Rimington