UK Farmers Mobilize for Blockades Over Cheap Food Imports

Farmers run with their tractors on the high speed road in Orte, Italy, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. Farmers have been protesting in various parts of Italy and Europe against EU agriculture policies.

Chimauchem Nwosu Protests by French farmers have triggered similar actions across the Channel, with slow-moving tractor convoys causing traffic jams. Now co-ordinated nationwide action is expected.British farmers will stage more French-inspired blockades to protest low-cost food imports and reduced supermarket prices.Farmers set up rolling roadblocks near the Kent port of Dover for hours on Friday evening with around 40 tractors and other farm machinery. They drove slowly along roads displaying slogans reading «No More Cheap Imports.» The Kent farmers will meet again this week to plan further actions, which could spread across the countryIn October 2023, Somerset farmers blockaded the major Morrisons supermarket distribution hub in Bridgwater under the banner «Proud to Farm.» In Carmarthen, Wales, around 3,000 farmers protested, while some participants carried a replica coffin with the inscription «In memory of Welsh farming.»WorldFrench Farmers Stage Protest Blocking Roads to Paris29 January, 14:47 GMTOther farmers’ movements have adopted similar themes including the «Get Fair About Farming» campaign founded in 2023 by Guy Singh-Watson, founder of organic produce firm Riverford. His online petition won a parliamentary debate in January.“We’ve had support from all round the country. There will be other groups like us, and they will make their presence felt – around the docks, around supermarket distribution centers,” said Andrew Gibson, one of the protest organizers in Dover.Tariff-free imports of Ukrainian wheat and cheap frozen lamb from New Zealand are some of the issues abgering farmers, according to Gibson.“We’re getting a lot of produce from around the world that would be illegal to grow in this country…We produce the best stuff to the highest standard. We just want a level playing field,” Gibson noted.The food advocacy group Sustain cautioned back in 2022 that UK farmers were making well below a penny in profit from their food production. The profit for a cereal farmer from a loaf of bread was less than one penny (0.09p), while dairy farmers earned less than a penny from a £2.50 block of cheddar. National Farmers’ Union (NFU) President Minette Batters said farmers were being squeezed due to rising production costs and hostile weather conditions contributing to low crop yield.WorldEU Extending Free Goods Import From Ukraine Detrimental to EU Farmers — Hungarian Official31 January, 17:31 GMTBritish farers launched their protests after French agricultural unions organized the blockade of seven main highways leading to Paris. They mobilized between 1,500 and 2,500 tractors to disrupt the capital’s supply routes for weeks.Farmers want cuts to fuel subsidies reversed and restrictions on the influx of Ukrainian tariff-free food imports to the European Union, along with action to tackle water shortages and cutting red tape on local firms.


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