21 June 2002

Family farmers join in the attack

FAMILY farmers have launched a blistering attack on Ben Gill over forecasts that another 20,000 people may quit agriculture.

The Small and Family Farms Alliance said the unions prediction showed the NFU had failed to address farmers problems and was too close to the government.

Alliance chairman Michael Hart said Mr Gill was in danger of going down in history as the NFU president who presided over the demise of British agriculture.

"The NFU, as the largest farming organisation we have, has to become more proactive or move over and out of the way to let others do so," said Mr Hart. "At the moment its cosy relationship with government undermines the proactive work of others on behalf of the family farmers of the UK."

Mr Hart said the NFU had failed to address the power of retailers, processors, and farm suppliers which was being concentrated into fewer and fewer hands.

It was no good the NFU saying farmers needed to get closer to the market place when the closer farmers get the less they receive in return, he added. He also criticised the NFU for backing genetically modified food, which consumers did not want. &#42