Cornwall’s farming leaders are calling for food producers to be given a fair crack of the whip when it comes to sharing in the profits generated by the raw materials they supply – and for those responsible for economic development in the county to do what they can to help the industry.
Dairy farmer Chris Cardell, who is chairman of Cornwall NFU, said: ’Farming is worth nearly half a billion pounds to the Cornish economy and directly employs nearly 10,000 people – never mind the thousands more who work in all the businesses allied to the agricultural industry.
’If we want to see this economic contribution continue, we have to ensure that farm businesses are profitable so they can invest for the future.’
There is also frustration that despite swingeing price cuts for primary producers, which are making life very tough for even the most efficient farming operations, food prices have not declined by anything like the same amount and many processors are still reporting strong revenues, healthy profit margins and increased dividends for shareholders.
’There is an increasing sense of frustration at the situation we find ourselves in, when profits are being maintained at the expense at rest of the supply chain,’ said Roger Jenkin, a dairy farmer and deputy chairman of Cornwall NFU.
’If it were not for the high-quality produce supplied by the county’s farmers, many food processors would find life pretty tough. It seems we are always at the bottom of the pile when it comes to sharing in profits and at the top of the list when it comes to cuts.’
There will be a packed programme of events at the NFU’s marquee at the Royal Cornwall Show (stand 317), which will be in its usual place opposite the Pavilion Centre with hot and cold refreshments on offer.
Today, Friday June 10, features a livestock talk at 10am with a panel including Adam Quinney, chairman of AHDB Beef and Lamb and Charles Sercombe, national livestock board chairman. At 11.30am there’s a chance to meet Ruth Mason, chief food chain adviser, and the day will be rounded off by the NFU/YFC panel debate at 4pm in the YFC marquee.