10 May 2001
Cut input costs, demand Scots
By FWi staff
SCOTLANDS farmers want to see the next government act to reduce the crippling cost of inputs that is hampering their ability to be competitive within the EU.
The National Farmers Union of Scotlands election manifesto highlights measures the politicians need to address to restore farmings waning health.
Scotlands Farming Manifesto, launched on Thursday (May 10), tells politicians that cost concerns continue to blight Scottish agriculture.
“Fuel costs impact disproportionately on rural areas and paying diesel prices that are 60% higher than the EU average presents Scottish farmers with a massive trade disadvantage,” said NFUS president Jim Walker.
“The prices of fertilisers and veterinary medicines are a prime example of rip-off Britain,” he said.
He also attacked environmental regulation which undermines farm viability, but rarely produces the intended environmental benefits.
His comments followed the publication of the inputs task-force report on Wednesday (09 May), which told the government to take action to reduce the cost of inputs. It agreed that high input costs make UK farming uncompetitive.
Mr Walker also called for controls on food imports to be tightened and for better labelling to allow consumers to identify high-quality Scottish produce.
Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be another key challenge facing the new government, he said.
“British interests must be put before the desire to compromise with other countries.”
He warned that the CAP budget will be squeezed as the EU is enlarged.
The efficient UK farm industry should not be penalised by reforms aimed at the less efficient member states, he insisted.
Foot-and-mouth disease has shown the importance of farming and countryside management to a whole range of industries, he said.
“Despite the devastating effect of F&M, there is an opportunity to improve the future of farming in Scotland.”
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