THE Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has said that farmers must not be left to carry the can for the uplift in input prices and labour shortages currently affecting food production and distribution.

TFA National Vice Chairman and Dalston dairy farmer, Robert Martin, said, “Farm costs are increasing across all headings but particularly significant changes are occurring in respect of fuel, feed and fertiliser. To remain sustainable, we need to see farm gate prices improve to cover these increasing costs. However, processors are reporting strong resistance from retailers and food service outlets in allowing any increase in price to occur. To maintain their margins, processors are seeking to reduce prices paid to farmers. Once again, farmers are seen as the weakest link in the food supply chain”.

“The UK Government made much of the new powers introduced in the Agriculture Act 2020 to intervene in markets to ensure fair trading between primary producers and processors. However, we have seen precious little action since these new measures hit the statute book. If the supply chain continues to operate in a dysfunctional manner the Government will have to step in to ensure fairness and equity using the new statutory leverage available,” said Mr Martin.