How ironic that the EU is currently introducing sweeping reforms of its farming subsidies to halt the decline of small farms, so as to retain the benefits of thriving rural communities, management of the landscape and the production of quality local food (Fewer, bigger, more intensive: EU vows to stem drastic loss of small farms, 24 May).
At the same time, small UK farmers are facing an increasingly difficult future (Prince Charles: small-scale family farms must be at heart of sustainable future, 24 May). The UK government, driven by free-market doctrine, is aiming to make UK farms larger and more efficient producers of lower-quality cheap food. These objectives will be achieved by opening our markets to the competition created by unlimited quantities of tariff-free foods from Australia, Canada and the US. In addition, a scheme to pension off small farmers is now being introduced.
Our government fails to understand that many parts of our rural landscape can only be managed for protection of the environment, maintenance of habitat and wildlife, and to generate sensible levels of food production by supporting a thriving and rewarded small farming community.
To read the full article by the The Guardian, please click here.