UK: Momentum must be maintained on agriculture summit, says NFU
Progress must be maintained on issues raised at the Downing Street farming summit in March, the NFU will tell Agriculture Minister Nick Brown at a food industry forum next week.NFU President Ben Gill will join other industry leaders at MAFF headquarters in London on Thursday (23 November) for a "follow-up" meeting to look at whether the promises made have been delivered.The whole food chain committed itself to working together at the summit, which was hosted by the Prime Minister. Mr Gill will say that while steps have been taken in this direction, there is still much more to do in areas like the dairy chain where producers remain disadvantaged compared with the rest of the supply chain.Work on the legally binding retailer code of practice must be carried out urgently - farmers and growers are desperate to see it set up to provide more security in their dealings with the supermarkets, he will add. And the commitment given by Government at the Downing Street summit to do everything possible to reduce regulation must be continued. One of the out-turns of the Downing Street summit, the Better Regulation Task Force investigation, which reported in the last few days, must be the start not the culmination of these efforts. Desperately-needed cuts in Meat Hygiene Service charges for smaller abattoirs must result from a further reduction in red tape, Mr Gill will say. The continuing Government threat of the pesticides tax and the serious implications of the Nitrates Directive must also be acted upon. Mr Gill said: "The Downing Street summit was crucial in demonstrating to the farming industry that Government was serious about its survival. The Better Regulation Task Force has confirmed the veracity of our claims. "This momentum on the important commitments given has to be kept up. This follow-up meeting is an important opportunity for us to ensure this is happening."
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