NFU president Peter Kendall met Tony Blair on Thursday (20 April) to discuss the issues facing UK agrculture, including the fiasco surrounding the late delivery of the Single Farm Payment, concerns over the EU budget, imbalances in the food chain and the effect of bovine tuberculosis.
Mr Kendall welcomed the opportunity to talk through some of the issues at the forefront of the agricultural and horticultural agendas.
“While making sure farmers recieve the SFP is top of the immediate list, the really critical issue is that farming is able to prosper and be competitive in a functional food chain,” said Mr Kendall.
The Prime Minister has also agreed to launch the UK’s inaugural Red Tractor Day to celebrate the achievements of the food industry in promoting UK produce to consumers.
Standing outside No 10 Downing Street the Prime Minister paid tribute to the farming and food industry.
He used the opportunity to urge consumers to look out for the quality standard mark when shopping and to called for more food businesses to join the alliance.
It will not be the first time that the Prime Minister has lent his support to the Red Tractor. He launched the standard mark in 2000. Since then the logo has grown to appear on over £5bn worth of food every year – equivalent to 60% of own-brand foods sold in UK supermarkets.
Mr Kendall also praised the scheme for its achievements in raising awareness among consumers of the quality of UK produce.
“The Red Tractor has restored consumer confidence in UK food. The food industry is a hugely competitive market and the Red Tractor is a vital tool in differentiating UK produce from lesser products coming from abroad. We must continue to build on that.”
Mr Kendall added that it was imperative that the Prime Minister continued to lend his support to the scheme and demonstrate confidence in UK food if producers are to come through the tough times currently dogging the industry.