CLA Wales, the rural economy expert, is warning that the Welsh
countryside is increasingly at risk as prices paid to livestock
producers are being driven below a sustainable level.
Disruption to marketing caused by foot and mouth and blue
tongue restrictions has exposed farmers desperate to offload
stock to a risk of being exploited if they get drawn into
direct sales rather than working with independent producer
The organisation is reminding farmers that they are operating
in an ever more sophisticated environment and need the
benefit of group cohesion. CLA Wales Director Julian Salmon
warned that what appeared to be short term commercial advantages
might not sustain individuals in the longer term.
“Survival depends on radically rethinking the way
that they organise their marketing” he said.
“Independent marketing groups require a change in attitude on the part
of farmers, as well as a degree of discipline, but the longer term advantages
are enormous, particularly in the current climate. A sustainable future
can only be achieved if producers are prepared to work with their neighbours
through a professional organisation.
"Independent marketing groups can offer many advantages
to all along the supply chain – farmers, processors
and supermarkets. We need an opening-up of the chain to
build trust and collaboration”
Similarly, consumers need to be reminded that the landscape
they cherish is at risk if livestock farming is driven
out of the uplands. Campaigns such as the CLA’s Just
Ask, which encourages consumers to enquire as to the provenance
of the food on their plate have never been more important.
Mr Salmon warns that although marketing is very much an
individual business decision, the Welsh Assembly Government’s
2020 Agenda identifies the need for change.
“The importance of collaboration is a common theme”,
he added. “Unless farmers as sellers can form
counter weights to buyers in the market place then they
will continue to be ripped off as is acutely the case in
the distorted market climate of the moment.”
Welsh Farmers Fuelling the Future
NFUS Tells Lords of Long-Term CAP Vision
Paying Farmers to Protect the Environment?