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Movement Restictions Sees Mounting Anxiety

by 5m Editor
4 October 2007, at 12:51pm

MONTGOMERYSHIRE - NFU Cymru members meeting in Newtown this week expressed their anxiety and anger at what has turned into a disastrous sequence of events for the livestock sector, with the blame placed squarely at the Government’s door.

Farmers from across Montgomeryshire gathered at the NFU Cymru arranged meeting to express their fears and frustrations regarding movement restrictions and the loss of export markets which have resulted in severe economic pressures and hardship for farmers.

Speaking at the meeting, NFU Cymru County Chairman Bobby Morgan of Llanbrynmair said, “There is huge desperation, frustration and anger amongst farmers at the moment who are under intense pressure due to restrictions on the movement of stock and the knock-on economic and welfare problems.

“The personal hardship amongst livestock farmers is severe, and all of this is through no fault of their own. The source of this foot and mouth outbreak is the Government’s own laboratory complex at Pirbright. The message is clear and simple, the Government has got us into this mess, they must now hold up their hands, accept responsibility and put in place some real measures to help the industry out of this dire situation.”

Also present at the meeting was NFU Cymru President Dai Davies who said, “This is a disastrous scenario, none of which is of our making. Clearly the Government got us into this situation and they have the sole responsibility to get us out of it.

“The economic pressures grow daily and as we move into the autumn welfare problems are increasingly coming to the fore on many farms. The industry is absolutely desperate and we have a backlog of stock that should have been marketed in August and September. Our inability to export has left us with no market for a huge number of lambs, calves and older cows. Unless the Government intervenes, the situation will worsen as each day passes.”

Mr Davies added, “Clearly the easing of the export ban from 12 October is good news and a step in the right direction, but we remain in the situation where we have had a build up of stock for the last two and a half months since exports were banned. There is a need to remove this backlog before we can expect this re-opening of the export market to have any meaningful impact in the market place and a light lamb disposal scheme remains absolutely essential.”

The meeting also heard from the Chief Executive of HCC (Meat Promotion Wales), Gwyn Howells, who outlined their plans to try to boost consumption of lamb, although he admitted that with over 1 million lambs normally exported between September and November, clearly it is not possible to ‘eat our way’ out of this situation and Government intervention in the market place is the main solution.

NFU Cymru County Vice-Chairman, David Jones of Kerry said, “The combination of Foot and Mouth Disease and Bluetongue has shaken the livestock industry to its foundations. Government must not only accept its responsibilities, but must also act to ease the situation.

“The Assembly must react quickly and positively to our call for them to consider every avenue to support the industry in Wales, not least the introduction of a welfare disposal scheme for animals with no market outlet, an early delivery of Single Farm Payments, a payment to all affected livestock farmers, a supplement to Tir Mynydd payments and a scheme to encourage public procurement of lamb that cannot at present be exported. I would call on all unitary authorities up and down the country to ensure that their procurement policies ensure the use of Welsh lamb and beef in all of their outlets.

“Time is running out fast. Politicians need to sit up and listen, and more importantly they need to act now to avoid a total market collapse. Clearly, the Government got us into this predicament; they must now be reasonable and fair and get us out of it.”-

5m Editor