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NSA chairman calls for new alliance of farmers’ organisations

12 February 2013

The horsemeat scandal is the latest evidence that our Government must build and not cut investment in policy infrastructure and regulatory enforcement activities, says John Geldard.

As Chairman of NSA, an active member of NFU, NBA and BEIC, and with personal interests in beef, sheep and poultry production, Mr Geldard is calling for a new alliance of farming organisations to specifically support the Government on food chain issues and make sure they listen to the views of core food producers.

He says: “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. The horsemeat scandal and lack of farming consultation in finding solutions and future-proofing secure food supplies shows existing communication between farmers and 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 our Government has failed to listen. It is a shameful disgrace that on 1st January 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 1st January 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 struggling with the impact of the weather on lamb prices, were unknowingly competing with high volumes of horsemeat distorting the market.

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

Mr Geldard is inviting major UK farming organisations and unions to a summit meeting, which is currently planned to take place next week in London.

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