THE INTERESTS of farmers, by far the biggest levy payers, must be at the heart of the review of agricultural levy bodies, according to the National Farmers Union.

The statement from the union came after the government announced on Tuesday (March 15) an independent review of farming and food levy bodies.

NFU deputy president Peter Kendall said: “This review comes at a crucial time.

“The industry has changed enormously since the establishment of many of the levy bodies and will evolve increasingly rapidly in coming years.”

“Farmers and growers face the challenge of developing their businesses in response to changes in CAP, and the levy bodies representing various sectors need to be well placed to facilitate that,” Mr Kendall said.

He further argued that because of tight profit margins the industry as a whole is taking cost control very seriously.

He stated that the review must accordingly identify the fundamental requirements of each sector and make firm recommendations on how the levy boards can most efficiently and cost effectively further their interests.

“It is essential that waste and duplication be avoided at all levels,” Mr Kendall said.

He added: “While it is right for the review to consult widely, the focus must be on how the bodies can best contribute to the success of British farming. The interests of farmers, by far the biggest levy payers, must be paramount.”