Farmers must co-operate – Haskins

7 December 2001

Farmers must co-operate – Haskins

By Adrienne Francis

LORD HASKINS has urged UK farmers to co-operate and integrate with the food chain to increase their share of consumer spending.

Good British farmers can compete with anyone, the outgoing chairman of Northern Foods and rural recovery co-ordinator said at Agrivision, Stoneleigh, on Thursday (6 December).

However, “the chronically unco-operative side of British agriculture is going to need a rethink,” he said.

The public perceives a culture of dependency, he said, and “it doesnt suit farmers to be highly divisive in their business practices.

“Britain must not continue unilaterally to devise regulations in isolation,” he added, “our bureaucratic approach is a pain in the neck.”

Regulators should move from a system of penalising farmers to making it easier for them to meet standards and other benchmarking tools, he urged.

He told tenant farmers that their efforts at sustainability were a special case, and warranted an official government review.

Farmers should continue to press for increased productivity, lower costs and better marketing and not be ashamed of it, he concluded.

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