Representatives from Farmers For Action (FFA) in Northern Ireland travelled to London on Monday, March 25 to support Save British Farming in a tractor protest.

The tractor protest started at New Covent Garden, then travelled across Vauxhall Bridge before heading to Westminster Square and then finished by passing Big Ben.

Save British Farming and many other supporting groups all came together to drive their tractors into London where the drivers were “truly taken aback” by the support.

They reported that the support included cars blowing horns in support, cyclists giving them the thumbs up, along with the “huge support” of people including parents and children at the Square.

There were also many police officers in cars, vans and motorbikes helping the tractors on the route and then those on foot at the square according to the protesting farmers.

FFA’s William Taylor who was present at the protest stated:

“The protests main aims were to highlight dishonest food labelling, the government to block sub-standard food imports and in addition take action to address fears over national food security.

“The biggest let down of the protest was DEFRA farm minister Mark Spencer’s press release; if he was to ensure that farmers get properly paid for their produce then he might be on the right track, both with farmers and UK government.”

Taylor added that the Tories negotiated a number of trade deals in the wake of Brexit which was “far from a being a plus” for either Australian farmers or UK farmers.

Farmer protest outside Big Ben in London. Image source: FFA

He suggested that this presented an opportunity for corporate shipping companies, food importers and food retailers to “fill their boots”.

According to Taylor this is because Australian farmers are informed they can buy cheaper produce in the UK, while telling the UK farmers they can buy it cheaper in Australia.

The London protest was claimed to be “a huge success”, in making the point, that UK farmers along with European farmers have had enough. 

The FFA stated that it is time for a legislation on farm gate prices for farmers to receive a minimum of the “true cost” of production plus a margin for their produce, if they want farmers to deliver on sustainable food security and climate change.