The UK’s farming unions are to press for more rapid progress to secure an involvement by the European Investment Bank (EIB) in agriculture, a measure which was promised as part of the recent Brussels package to tackle the agricultural markets crisis.
“The EIB offers great opportunities to agriculture, including the restructuring of farm borrowing, match-funding rural development programmes and supporting wider industry investment,” said Ulster Farmers’ Union president, Ian Marshall.
He was speaking after hosting a summit meeting in Belfast attended by NFU England president, Meurig Raymond; NFU Scotland president, Allan Bowie and NFU Cymru president, Stephen James.
Agreeing that farmers in all parts of the UK are currently facing a cash flow crisis, the big four also stressed the “vital importance” of securing the timely payment of the BPS, demanding that sufficient resources are made available to ensure that the 2015 payments across the UK are delivered and that a similar “debacle” is averted in future years.
The farm leaders’ summit also looked at problems along the food supply chain, particularly the sale by supermarkets of imported meats when local supplies are readily available.
“We are also concerned by the use of fictitious farm brands on packaging to potentially mask the origin of products,” said Mr Marshall. “What we all want is more honesty from retailers, with consumers being given the chance to buy local food, with proper quality provenance which we as farmers have worked hard to establish.”
Headline image shows (left to right) Stephen James, Allan Bowie, Ian Marshall and Meurig Raymond