NFU President Minette Batters has written a letter to The Times in response to an article by columnist Emma Duncan who said that agreeing to a trade deal that reduced home-grown food production would be a ‘good thing’. Ms Duncan also describes farmers are ‘formidable enemies’.
Mrs Batters wrote:
To the editor,
It is astonishing to see Emma Duncan [Tories should take on farmers over free trade, 28 May 2021] argue that a trade deal which results in less home-grown food is a ‘good thing’.
To then continue to say that producing less British food and importing more will have a positive impact on the environment is even more extraordinary. Assuming we all still need to eat, it would be fascinating to understand where our food will come from under Ms Duncan’s fantastical vision for the future.
Assuming she does not think our food will appear from, literally, nowhere then she must realise that her great vision relies on importing food to Britain from other countries with lower animal welfare standards which are banned here and lower standards of environmental protection.
Surely Ms Duncan can’t simply believe that global environmental problems will be solved if Britain stops producing food whilst we sit back and shut our eyes to any environmental impact food production has on other countries?
To lazily accuse farmers of being the 'enemy' in this argument completely misses the point. Britain’s farmers are not against trade. In fact, we have always been supportive of it, when it is fair, benefits Britain and, fundamentally, does not fatally undermine our own producers.