Food strike was a ‘startling success’

Farmers For Action has described its food production strike as a “startling success” and has warned it is likely to take further action – perhaps for five days – at the end of the month.

FFA chairman David Handley said while it was true only about 4000 farmers had taken part, if you looked at the bigger picture it had gone down well.

“We believe it was a success if you look at the media coverage it gave us and the levels of consumer support.

We wanted to put this issue right at the top of the agenda for politicians and consumers and I think we did that.

“Consumer support was overwhelming, with the public fully behind our action and wanting to do something to preserve British agriculture, increase our farmgate prices and find alternative shopping outlets.”

A poll run by Sky News on the opening day of the strike on Wednesday (2 November) showed that 84% of shoppers supported the action and FFA was also e-mailed by hundreds of supportive consumers, said Mr Handley.

One of these, a shopper from Essex, said: “It’s a great way to help get the message to the big supermarkets that their actions are unacceptable.

I’m not involved in farming, but it makes me so angry that supermarkets encourage people to think food should be as cheap as possible.”

Mr Handley said some people had suggested the public’s response would have been less positive if shops had run out of goods, but he did not think this was necessarily the case.

“It is a concern,” he said.

“But I’m convinced that if you get the PR right, even if [shelves were empty] then we could still have support.”

The British Retail Consortium said last week’s action didn’t have any impact on the stock on retailers’ shelves and claimed that there was a lot of misinformation around margins in the supply chain.