Farmers for Action’s (FFA) William Taylor has said that Westminster must match the additional support commitment recently confirmed by Brussels for the European agriculture sector.

This recent development came as a response to  the spiralling cost crisis impacting on production agriculture around the world.

Taylor commented: “Brussels has recently announced that farming business across the European Union will receive a one-off support payment in the region of €15,000 to €100,000. The monies are to be paid out in October.

“I see no reason why the British government cannot respond in kind.

“The financial pressures on farms in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK at the present time are equally significant,” he added.

“It is long overdue that London should act decisively, where these matters are concerned,” Taylor commented as he attended this year’s Ballymoney Show.

Future for agriculture

Looking to the future, he stressed the need for farmers in Northern Ireland to be allowed access sustainable support measures.

“Our proposed Farm Welfare Bill can also play an important role in this context,” he said.

According to the FFA representative, the proposed legislation represents the only way of guaranteeing farmers fair prices into the future.

“Our draft bill is based on the principle of delivering farmers commodity prices that take full account of their production cost plus a margin to allow them invest for the future,” he continued.

“Such an approach also takes full account of inflationary pressures in a timely manner.”

Taylor went on to point out that farmers do not want to take on further debt. He cited the examples of fertiliser usage being well down in 2022, relative to previous years, as a very clear verification of this reality.

“Processors have a choice to make,” said the FFA representative.

“They can go to their customers and tell them what food is really going to cost in the shops. By taking this approach, farmers can receive the prices they need to maintain sustainable businesses.

“Alternatively, consumers can go short of supply.”

Taylor went on to point out that, if enacted, the Farm Welfare Bill would return farmers a minimum of the cost of production plus a margin inflation linked for their produce.

It would also provide food processors with the clout to extract their costs while also forcing the corporate food wholesalers and retailers to lower their profits, he claimed.

“The proposed legislation would, therefore, not affect the cost of food to consumers, other than taking account of normal inflationary increases,” he concluded.