It is with some concern that The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) looks forward at the possibilities for British food and agricultural policies post-Brexit. The task will require huge effort and ingenuity on behalf of political decision makers if it is to support producers, protect the environment and prioritize access to healthy, nutritious food for all.
As a national union of small-scale, traditional and family farmers, The Landworkers’ Alliance is determined to ensure that the voices of smaller-scale producers are included in post-Brexit policy.
The UK’s small-scale and family farms are at the heart of our rural culture and communities; they create employment, protect cherished landscapes and provide a huge amount of the food we eat. However, under Defra’s implementation of the CAP, many small farms were unfairly disadvantaged. The Landworkers’ Alliance is ready to work with government to unsure that this discrimination does not continue under national agricultural policy.
In light of this, The Landworkers’ Alliance calls on Defra to commit now to supporting a multifunctional, diverse and ecologically sustainable food and agricultural strategy in the coming years.
Adam Payne, a farmer in Dorset said: ‘We want Defra to take this opportunity to redesign agricultural policy for the better – now is the moment to reverse the ongoing discrimination by ensuring that farmers, no matter what acreage they farm, are equally supported in policy, and able to operate on a level playing field, with protection from global price volatility and the aggressive behavior of distributors and supermarkets’
Ed Hamer, a grower in Devon said: ‘By highlighting to the public that the average UK farmer receives 50 percent of their income in subsidies the referendum campaign has shone a welcome spotlight on the inherently biased nature of our food system. We would like to ensure that when a national food policy is finally adopted it will no longer undermine the livelihoods of those of us who choose to farm outside that framework – but will instead represent a truly balanced and progressive future for farming culture.’
We now expect a period of uncertainty over the next 12-24 months as Defra reorientates its agenda and priorities towards a national food and agricultural policy. Throughout this period the LWA will use our lobbying opportunites to raise the profile and the concerns of our membership in an effort to achieve a truly representative national agriculture agenda.