9 July 1999

In market to form association

A NEW National Association of Farmers Markets, setting standards of good practice, was launched at the show.

In addition, the association aims to promote and increase the number of farmers markets, and lobby the government in a bid to secure support.

The association is a joint venture involving the NFU, Soil Association, Farm Retail Association and the Bath Environment Centre.

An NFU spokesman said farmers markets offered a lifeline to many producers and allowed them to achieve better margins than they would by selling through other outlets.

The association has been awarded £50,000 start-up grant from the Countryside Agency, and the Royal Agricultural Society of England will handle the administration, providing certificates for the markets. It is hoped that within five years the scheme will be self-financing.

Launching the venture, Ewen Cameron, chairman of the Countryside Agency, said anything that improved links between farmers and their customers was very welcome. &#42