The traditional British family-run farm is rapidly becoming a thing of the past and our country will be less and less able to feed its own people without being dependent on imported food.
Giant supermarket combines now control the food market because over 90% of Britons do all or most of their shopping in them. Farmers therefore have to sell their produce to the big chain buyers despite being ruthlessly exploited.
From every pound you spend on food in their stores, only 34p on average goes to the farmer — a share that has dropped by 28% since the late 1980s.
Supermarket running costs have changed little and the prices shoppers pay have not dropped. This extra money goes straight into the pockets of the global multinationals (such as US-based WalMart) who run the big store chains.
That has left farmer after farmer to go to the wall, driven off the land that in many cases has been cultivated by their family for generations.
Dairy farmers in Britain are receiving the third lowest price for their milk in Europe, beaten only by Slovenia and Romania.
Brussels bureaucratic regulations, ignored by farmers elsewhere in the EU, have hamstrung our farmers in many areas and even £3 billion a year Common Agricultural Policy subsidies do not help over the long term. This is because it undermines real farming by paying farmers to grow things our people don’t want to eat and discourages innovation and diversification.
Over the last decade, despite a near 50% increase in total food consumption, the output from British farming has fallen. This is because our food now increasingly comes from abroad, with 15% of lamb, 25% of pork and bacon and 33% of beef being imported. It’s the same with our vegetables and cereals, and even at the height of the British apple season in September, over half the apples on supermarket shelves came from abroad.
Imported food is not good for the consumer. Foreign meat is not always produced to the same high standard of hygiene and humane rearing as our own produce – it was imported meat that caused the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease disaster. Imported vegetables and fruit, especially from Third World countries, are often treated with pesticides and other chemicals that are illegal in Britain.
Importing food is not good for the country because it undermines our balance of payments in the short term, and in the long term it undermines our independence and possibly survival.
The British people only survived the great wars of the 20th Century because we were about to just about feed our own people from our own land. Today we couldn’t do this, and have to depend for our food on politically unstable and potentially hostile Eastern European and Third World states.
The British Democratic Party believes that the power of the multinational monopoly supermarkets must be broken and replaced with stores run by and for ordinary British people.
Waitrose is the only food store which treats farmers with respect. It pays them a proper price and has a policy of never making any farmer dependent on them for the bulk of their produce sales. This is possible because there are no parasitic City shareholders to pocket excess profits. Waitrose can pay its own workforce (by whom it is owned) a decent wage without ripping off either producer or consumer.
The alternative in the short-term is more ruined farmers driven off the land, and a question mark over the future of the British farming industry.
In the long term it means a Britain unable to feed her own people and forced to rely on foreign countries which because of global warming will be struggling to feed their own population.
In tomorrow’s world, if any country can’t provide food for its own people it will face famine and destruction. Britain’s farmers are Britain’s future.
* Scottish dairy farmers are being driven out of business by agribusiness combines and supermarkets who use their monopoly buying power to deny them a fair price for their milk.
Twenty years ago there were over 5,000 dairy farmers in Scotland. Today there are just 1,429. The smaller family farms are being squeezed out of business.
Supermarkets have recently increased the price of milk but have not passed on any of the extra profit to the milk producers. This has resulted in a protest by dairy farmers and the blockading of milk depots to cut the supply of milk off across the country.
But this could result in supermarkets importing milk from abroad. This will drive more of our dairy farmers to the wall and make the country dependent on imports to survive.
In the short term, our dairy farmers must follow the example of Dutch dairy farmers and join together in producers’ co-operatives to process their own milk — and thereby cut out one layer of greedy profiteering middlemen.
In the long term, they must campaign for the British Democratic Party, the only political party in Britain which will end the dependence of the British people on imported food produce and take on the forces of multinational greed which seeks to destroy our farmers’ livelihoods.