MP Derek Thomas is urging everyone with an interest in the agricultural sector in West Cornwall to have their say on the future of the industry.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove says that “leaving the European Union (EU) provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform agriculture” and has launched a consultation on ‘The Future for Food, Farming and the Environment’, saying he wants a “more rational, and sensitive agriculture policy which promotes environmental enhancement, supports profitable food production and contributes to a healthier society.”
Mr Thomas hosted a meeting in St Buryan last week attended by several dozen farmers, briefing them on the Government proposals and listening to issues which the farmers themselves raised.
“Here in West Cornwall, the agricultural sector is responsible for some of the finest food produced anywhere in the UK and farmers have worked wonders to preserve and enhance our stunning environment,” he said.
“However they have managed this despite rather than because of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which, for more than forty years, has decided how we farm our land, the food we grow and the state of the natural environment.
“This has resulted in some glaring injustices – for example, CAP has skewed its subsidy system heavily in favour of the largest landholdings, so disadvantaging the farmer in West Cornwall, where most of the farms are comparatively small.
“The Government, in ‘The Future for Food, Farming and the Environment’, has some very sensible and exciting ideas on how our agricultural land should be used in the future but it needs to know more about the unique challenges faced by farmers in the far west of Cornwall or on Scilly.
“This consultation provides a one-off opportunity for people in West Cornwall to have a real input into how the agri-sector should develop after we leave the EU and I would encourage anyone involved in the industry to have their say.”
To take part in the Defra consultation, visit: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-for-food-farming-and-the-environment; the consultation ends on 8th May.