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English farmers are organizing additional demonstrations with tractors similar to those seen in France this weekend.
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English farmers are organizing additional demonstrations with tractors similar to those seen in France this weekend.

Farmers are discontent with the low prices offered by supermarkets and the influx of inexpensive imported food due to post-Brexit trade agreements. They have declared their intention to resume their protests, similar to those seen in France, by using tractors this coming weekend.

Protests inspired by those in neighboring countries have emerged in various parts of the United Kingdom, particularly in Wales and the southern region of England. In a recent statement, Andrew Gibson, a farmer from Kent who played a key role in arranging previous demonstrations, announced that there will be additional events in the future.

Gibson stated that we will be taking action this weekend and we encourage others to join us and engage in their own efforts. This needs to be a nationwide endeavor as it affects the industry as a whole, not just ourselves.

Last Friday night, he and his brother organised farmers for a go-slow protest that caused traffic jams around the Port of Dover.

According to a report from Farmers Weekly, activists in various areas of Wales have organized a series of demonstrations, such as parking tractors outside the office of rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths and honking their horns.

Gibson expressed that the upcoming protest in Kent aims for a larger turnout and will potentially involve tractors. They also plan to improve the messaging surrounding their goals.

“The whole industry is on its knees, to be honest,” he said. “The dairy boys, the arable boys, the whole industry. We are just getting clobbered by the supermarkets, by the government, by post-Brexit trade deals, by imports of cheap rubbish. We are getting it from everywhere.”

He and other activists have spoken to the general British population, stating: “As farmers, we take immense pride in cultivating your food. We are incredibly proud to produce the safest and highest quality food in the world.”

“We appreciate that many of you deliberately support British products and we are grateful for that. However, we acknowledge that it may be difficult for some who are struggling with the rising cost of living to consistently purchase British goods. The availability of cheaper imported food provides an opportunity to feed your family at a lower cost.”

Please take a moment to reflect on the reasons for the lower cost. How is it possible for food from another country to be priced less? Are there potentially harmful substances being utilized that are prohibited in the UK?

The demonstrations are influenced by those in France. In the previous month, farmers utilized tractors to block traffic on eight major highways leading into Paris, protesting against regulations, wages, and taxes. These protests have been ongoing for several months, beginning with young farmers flipping road signs in towns and villages, and intensifying in recent weeks with larger-scale actions.

Minette Batters, the president of the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales, said: “We share European farmers’ concerns and frustration. Years of unsustainably high production costs and crop losses because of extreme weather are putting farming families under mounting pressure.

In 2020, over a million individuals in the UK showed their invaluable support by signing the NFU’s petition to protect British food and farming standards. This resulted in increased government oversight on trade deals. Additionally, in 2023, nearly 50,000 signatures prompted the prime minister to organize a summit on food security. We appreciate and value this support and its impact, which is why we believe that protests or blocking public roads should only be considered as a last resort.

Source: theguardian.com