Borders MP Michael Moore met with new NFUS President Nigel Miller and Defra Secretary Caroline Spelman last week where they discussed their common goals for the Scottish farming industry.
At the meeting they discussed reform of the CAP, the Grocery Code Adjudicator and global food security. It was agreed that the views of the Scottish farming industry must feed into the UK position, as part of a regular dialogue, due to its unique qualities.
Mr Moore commented: “Representing a constituency with an important farming industry, I was pleased to be able to meet the new NFUS president, local man Nigel Miller with the Defra Secretary to discuss these issues which affect the long-term sustainability of the sector.
“At the meeting we all agreed that under CAP direct payments to farmers in Scotland must remain and, in particular, support for less favoured areas like the Borders.
“The current round of CAP negotiations is a chance to reform, simplify and ‘green’ the system, but the Defra Secretary and I pledged to negotiate hard on behalf of the industry in Scotland to maintain the aspects of CAP which are valuable and necessary.”
On the issue of the Grocery Code Adjudicator, Moore added: “At the markets and attending my surgeries many local farmers have come to me despairing over the low prices they receive for their hard-earned produce, despite the huge profits made by the supermarkets and processors.
“We discussed the Government’s plans to introduce a “supermarket ombudsman” to make supermarket pricing fair, transparent and sustainable for farmers and consumers. We were able to confirm at the meeting that those plans are well under way and we will present our proposals over the coming months.
“This positive meeting showed that the Government and the industry in Scotland share many common goals. Working together, we can get the right outcomes.”
NFUS president Nigel Miller said: “The meeting was something of a milestone which signals the start of more frequent and open dialogue with the UK Government - something we’ve not really had since devolution. This is so important as we enter a critical negotiating phase on CAP Reform.”