26 October 2001
Thousands write to Curry commission

By FWi staff

THE governments commission on the future of farming received about 1200 submissions of evidence before a deadline on Friday (26 October).

Staff will now start sifting through the evidence to prepare a final report which will be submitted to ministers by the end of the year.

A commission spokesman said the response to its appeal for evidence demonstrated a “very real interest” right across the food chain.

In its submission, the National Farmers Union said farming would only recover if it received better returns from the marketplace.

Anything that makes it more difficult for farmers to operate would not be a solution to the on-going recession, the NFU warned.

While society often demands a more regulatory approach to farming, consumers and taxpayers do not want to pay the full cost of this, it said.

NFU President Ben Gill said: “Farming is in a dire situation. But, despite this, it does meet the many and various demands placed on it.

“What is more, in sharp contrast to some perceptions, agricultures all-round positive contribution is getting better not worse.”

The Council for the Protection of Rural England said it wanted sustainable local foods to be a central element of the rural recovery.

Gregor Hutcheon, CPRE acting head of policy, said farmers should be offered the opportunity to earn a more realistic price for their produce.

Putting across the views of the retail sector, a spokesman for the British Retail Consortium said a customer-driven supply chain was essential.

“Market signals must flow to the primary producers without the distortions created by the CAP, too many middlemen or other factors.”

The commission, to study the long-term future of farming, was set up under Sir Don Curry, former chairman of the Meat and Livestock Commission, in August.

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