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    Welsh Countryside at Risk
26/11/07

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.

grassland

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 groups.

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.”

link Welsh Farmers Fuelling the Future
link NFUS Tells Lords of Long-Term CAP Vision
link Paying Farmers to Protect the Environment?

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