Public fear rise in food prices rather than stability of farming industry

A new study by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) has suggested that consumers are less concerned about the plights of British farmers and more concerned about how Brexit will impact the price and choice of food available.

The study from the sustainable farming charity found that only one in four people were worried about the decision to leave the EU forcing farmers out of business, by comparison around 61 per cent or respondents had concerns about the cost of food.

Consumers were most worried about continental cheese (21 per cent), soft fruits such as raspberries and strawberries (18 per cent), tomatoes and peppers (15 per cent) and chocolate (14 per cent) being harder to find on British shop shelves post-Brexit.

In comparison, a similar study conducted by LEAF among farmers found that 59 per cent felt that without the support of consumers the British farming sector would find it hard to compete.

However, 85 per cent of farmers believe the public need a better understanding of British agriculture.

UK agriculture contributes nearly £47 billion to the economy and yet only 10 per cent of consumers questioned appreciated the contribution farming made to the country.

In fact, those surveyed estimated that farmers grew just 37 per cent of the food consumed in Britain, when it is actually nearer 61 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, LEAF Chief Executive, Caroline Drummond said: “It’s essential that as we work towards leaving the European Union, the public understand and value what farmers do for us all.

“Farmers play a vital role – not just in producing the food we eat and caring for the countryside but they also contribute to so many aspects of all our daily lives – from medicines and cosmetics, to fuel and even what we wear, the cars we drive and the buildings we live and work in.”

For farmers, their biggest concerns going into Brexit are payments from government decreasing 76 per cent, business costs increasing 60 per cent and an increase in imports from non-EU nations 51 per cent.

Only 18 per cent of farmers believe Brexit will be good for British farming, with nearly half 47 per cent feeling they will be worse off afterwards, according to LEAF.

Posted in ARA News.