Farmers are stepping up action against the government’s refusal to protect British food standards in the Agriculture Bill from the threat of cheap food imports.
At 6pm this Saturday (31 October), 1,000 pumpkins will be carved out to spell “Save Our Standards” (SOS) and laid on Parliament Square in Westminster, London.
The action is being led by farmers’ union Landworkers’ Alliance, which represents more than 1,000 farmers across the UK.
It is being organised to protest against Conservative MPs voting down the amendments to the Agriculture Bill, which seek to strengthen the new advisory Trade and Agriculture Commission and allow parliament to scrutinise trade deals.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss says a UK ban on low standard imports would hurt developing nations exporting their goods here.
But Jyoti Fernandes, chair of the Landworkers’ Alliance, said: “Retaining UK’s high food standards is not only good for our consumers, but also helps developing countries in their shift towards safer farming practices.
“Our analysis shows that the ‘requirement for agricultural and food imports to meet domestic standards’ being debated by MPs in House of Commons will lead to better production and improve working conditions of farmers and workers in developing countries.”
Meanwhile, farming lobby Save British Farming will hold tractor demos in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, on Thursday 29 October, and in London on Tuesday 3 November, ahead of votes on revised amendments to the Agriculture Bill returning to the House of Commons on Wednesday 4 November. A further demo is planned for Friday 6 November in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.