As I mentioned yesterday there are two agricultural conferences taking place in Oxford at the moment: the Oxford Farming Conference and the Real Oxford Farming Conference. The latter offers an alternative to the intensive production / technological model of the former.
Most of the debate about Brexit and Farm Subsidies centres around larger farms, yet there are a significant and important group of farmers who manage small holdings of less than 5ha. These farmers are ineligible for any funding from the Common Agricultural Policy schemes. Yet these producers in many instances are more productive and profitable than the larger farms.
In response to this the New Economics Foundation have produced a report on behalf of Global Justice Now to address these issues and propose an alternative solution to the post Brexit re-organisation of farm subsidies. You can read their report here.
Their main conclusions are as follows:-
- Give each active farmer with at least one hectare of land a universal payment of £5,000.
- Offer grants for medium-scale, regional infrastructure, including processing facilities and local business development programmes.
- Offer subsidies for the provision of specific public goods.
The report also highlights the importance of small farmers in the developing world which they term ‘the global south’. The report goes on to say that this army of small farmers are responsible for feeding 70% of the world’s population and therefore it is vital that any policies and trade deals that the UK comes up with following Brexit do not undermine these farmers by flooding their markets with subsidised goods.
An interesting report which has a very different take from the normal discussions we hear around this area. I have been aware for some time how productive allotments and small market garden enterprises can be – a topic that needs highlighting and which requires additional support.