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Farming union urges major retailers to continue support of UK produce given impacts of Ukraine crisis

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The Farmers’ Union of Wales has written to the UK’s major retailers highlighting the need for ongoing support for Welsh and UK food given the impacts of the Russian war on Ukraine on input costs.

In his letter, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “I have no doubt that you will be aware of the stark increases in food production costs farmers across the globe have and are continuing to experience.

“Alongside possible shortages and unavailability of animal feed ingredients such as maize and sunflower meal, the AHDB has estimated there will be a 40% year-on-year increase in the price of feed concentrates.

“Average red diesel prices increased by 75.4 pence per litre, or 50%, between 10th February and 10th March, and average fertiliser prices have more than tripled since last year, with some types of nitrogen based fertiliser reaching almost £1,000 a tonne.”

Although UK farmgate milk prices have increased by around 20% over the past twelve months and deadweight lamb and beef prices continue to trend significantly above the five year averages, UK producers are finding themselves needing to make important changes to their farm businesses with serious concerns for the coming winter and beyond when it comes to fodder availability.

FUW President, Glyn Roberts at his farm (Image: FUW)

“Despite the annual UK inflation rate increasing to 6.2% and the cost of food in the UK increasing by 5% compared with 2021 levels, year on year supermarket red meat prices and dairy retail markets remain relatively unchanged.

“Therefore, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the real impacts of the war will not be felt in the UK for months as Welsh and global food production falls due to shortages and unaffordable input prices.”

The letter highlights that major retailers should play a vital role in ensuring that rising input costs do not threaten the long term viability of food producers in Wales and the UK, and that farmers are paid a fair price for their produce in light of developing circumstances.

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During times of great uncertainty for the UK agricultural sector, the President urged them to continue to support Welsh and UK food producers – and UK food security – by standing by their commitments to higher quality food produced domestically rather than poorer quality imports, particularly in light of trade deals reached and being negotiated with countries that have far lower standards than here in the UK.

“We would also urge you to ensure that the farming industry has confidence that this support will continue into the future, such that decisions made now that will impact yields and production later this year and into 2023 protect domestic production and UK food security,” he added.

(Lead image: FUW)

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