On Thursday Environment Secretary George Eustice called in; he was asked about the lack of a food strategy from Government even though there are policies for such things as tree planting and biodiversity.
Mr Eustice maintained that more information would soon be available [the strategy was subsequently announced] and other grant funding was revealed.
More support needed
Deputy President Tom Bradshaw was our guest at the show, speaking at a ‘strawberries and cream’ reception where he called on supermarkets to do more to support egg producers in particular as they battle rising input costs.
“They have to understand that if these producers are lost, then what we will see is the import of cage-produced eggs from Poland and that would be completely unacceptable,” he said.
Meanwhile, research commissioned by the Great South West Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the NFU shows that the county is due to lose tens of millions of pounds in the transition away from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) towards a system of payments for ‘public goods’ like flood prevention.
£44.5m will be lost
In 2020 Cornwall received £51.6m in BPS payments. Adding the amounts due to be deducted from this sum for each year of the transition period (2021 to 2027) shows that the total BPS amount lost from the rural economy of the county by the end of 2027 will be £44.5m.
According to Cornwall Trade and Investment the food industry in the Duchy is worth £2bn and one in three jobs in the county have some form of attachment to Cornish food and drink, equating to 60,000 people.
“BPS is being reduced, supposedly to be replaced by greater returns from the marketplace and Environmental Stewardship, yet an advance payment is tacit acceptance of the need for such income.”
Rob Halliday, Cornwall county chair
Economics continue to be a worry
Speaking ahead of the show, the first since 2019, the county’s NFU chair, beef and sheep farmer Rob Halliday, said: “Economics continue to be a worry. Working capital is a particular headache and the Government’s announcement that half of BPS will be paid from the end of July was a small crumb of comfort to some.
“I am, however, confused. BPS is being reduced, supposedly to be replaced by greater returns from the marketplace and Environmental Stewardship, yet an advance payment is tacit acceptance of the need for such income.”