Here is an interesting news snippet from the European end of the current
farm crisis, which shows the identification of retailers rather than
governments as the target of farmers' frustration with low prices.
UK, Friday, October 2, 1998
Riot police confront farmers
Police in riot gear have confronted around 30 farmers protesting at a Tesco
depot over falling farm incomes.
The farmers had earlier evaded police roadblocks to reach the depot in
Chepstow, south Wales.
The protest, which was watched by at least 60 police in full riot gear and
the Gwent force helicopter, dispersed after officers threatened to arrest
the farmers. They dispersed after being threatened with arrest.
At Llanrwst some 400 farmers agreed to lift their boycott of the local
And 1,000 farmers and supporters did the same at Newcastle Emlyn.
Rural incomes crisis
Many farmers have been refusing to take their animals to market until
better prices are offered by buyers for the supermarket chains.
The rural incomes crisis will be discussed when Agriculture Secretary Nick
Brown visits Cardiff next week to meet farming union leaders and Welsh
Secretary Ron Davies.
Welsh Nationalist leader Dafydd Wigley MP urged supermarket giants earlier
this week to cut meat prices on their shelves by 30% to rescue the
He said a three-month trial would raise demand and stop the downward spiral
in the lamb and beef industry.
He said: "The price farmers get for meat has dropped by up to 50%, yet the
prices in the supermarkets remain just as high.
"In view of the enormous profits being made, the supermarkets could well
afford to help the farming industry in this way for a trial period."
More farmers and their wives are seeking advice about Family Credit because
of the deepening economic crisis says the National Farmers Union.
Family credit depends on size of family with the basic qualification for a
single person being an income of less than £75 a week.
'Desperate financial straits'
Farming Wales, the monthly National Farmers Union newspaper, is publishing
a list of contact numbers for social security offices in its October issue.
Editor Keith Jones said: "This is being done at the request of members who
are in desperate financial straits.
"We have also been asked to supply details and contact numbers for various
Samaritan groups up and down Wales.
"It is a sign of the growing anxiety out there".
Director, Environment and Agriculture Program
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
2105 First Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 55404-2505
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