Suffolk protesters join day of action in support of British farming industry
PUBLISHED: 14:34 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:24 09 September 2020
Save British Farming (SBF) campaigners gathered at the Ipswich Cornhill to join a national protest supporting the home-grown agricultural industry and warning against a ‘no-deal’ exit from the European Union.
Farmers and rural campaigners who fear high tariff regimes under a hard Brexit could push businesses over the edge took to the streets on Wednesday, September 9, for a “day of action” to make their point to government.
Ipswich protest organiser Anna Damski, of Woodbridge, said the focus of the campaign was lobbying MPs to back an amendment to the Agriculture Bill going through parliament to protect the UK’s high food, animal welfare and environmental standards.
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SBF argues that polling shows 80% to 90% of people want to preserve the standards, but campaigners fear government wants to lower standards which would enable imports from other countries to undercut farmers here.
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They also claim that country of origin labelling is under threat, which would mean consumers can’t tell where their food is from.
“Farmers around the country have been ordering our banners – around 100 so far,” said Ms Damski.
“This campaign is about food and farming – the two are inextricably linked. Here in Suffolk the agri-food industry is the engine of our local economy. Our government promised in its manifesto to uphold our food, animal welfare and environmental regulations.
“But they failed to include them in the Agriculture Bill. Lower food standards will invite lower quality food imports, and that’s bad for our nation’s health, and bad for our farmers.”
Campaigners planned to put up 100 banners across the country bearing the slogan Save British Farming. They fear a no-deal Brexit could drive one in three farms out of business by 2025.
Ex-National Farmers’ Union (NFU) chief economist Sean Rickard has warned that half of all farms are already unprofitable, and would be even less so after the government phases out direct payments to growers and livestock producers.
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