The Scottish Farmer

‘Enough is enough’

- By Jim Millar and Kate Fisher

THOUSANDS of rural protesters have taken to the roads from Ballater to Bordeaux in a call to support food production and their way of life.

Here in Scotland, for the second week, protests have kicked off in the Cairngorm National Park, with farmers and land managers criticisin­g the Scottish government’s rural policies, arguing that the green agenda is set to ‘bankrupt the industry.’

Seventy people attended the protest in Ballater, with 20 tractors filling the streets of the Royal Deeside village. Local farmer Sandy Tulloch, who was at the event, described it as ‘the culminatio­n of people being sick to the back teeth of being pushed into a corner. Enough is enough.’

Commenting on the rally, rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “I have made absolutely clear that producing food is a key priority for the Scottish Government. One of the core aims of our Vision for Agricultur­e in the future is to meet more of our own food needs sustainabl­y and we know the contributi­on that farmers in the Cairngorms area and else.”

Meanwhile, down in London, a crowd of scarecrows was placed outside the Houses of Parliament in a symbolic protest calling for greater fairness in the supply chain. The event was backed by the #GetFairAbo­utFarming campaign, which has 110,000 signatures urging government changes.

At the event, fruit and veg grower Guy Singh-Watson warned that a recent survey stated almost half of businesses in his sector worry they will be bust within the year. Mr

Singh-Watson slammed the big six supermarke­ts that are yet to engage with the campaign, saying retailers only care about ‘keeping their shelves stocked and pockets lined all year round.’

Across the channel in France, thousands of farmers are blocking roads and motorways in a challenge to President Macron to take action on excessive financial charges, unfair environmen­tal protection rules, tax increases on non-road-use diesel, and insufficie­nt prices for produce.

Speaking exclusivel­y to The Scottish Farmer, Lionel Monier, a Saler cattle breeder from the Auvergne region, said: “For us, it is administra­tive overload from the government and imports of cheaper meat and with fewer or even no standards. Also, the increase in the cost of energy scares us, including electricit­y and non-road diesel.” Further east in Romania, farmers are blockading imports from Ukraine, which have been depressing prices in the local market. Despite assurances from the Romanian government to increase subsidies to agricultur­e and to extend low-interest loans, protests continued, with 1100 trucks waiting to cross.

Finally, thousands of farmers were left disappoint­ed in Berlin as German finance minister Christian Lindner address a rally of 10,000 and refused to open the public coffers. She stated: “I can’t promise you more state aid from the federal budget. But we can fight together for you to enjoy more freedom and respect for your work.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom