A new British farmers’ union opposed to the stranglehold of big business over agricultural policy will be protesting outside the Head offices of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), 16 and 17 Smith Square London, at 12.00pm on Thursday 17th April.
The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) is a coalition of small-scale producers who believe their views are not represented by the NFU – or recognized by DEFRA. The new Alliance currently boasts 150 members – many of whom have come to Smith Square to picket DEFRA and the NFU – whose headquarters are next to each other.
Under the leadership of Owen Patterson over the past two years DEFRA has strengthened its support of large-scale industrial agriculture and marginalized smaller producers, while the NFU has consistently lobbied for the interests of agribusiness and ignored the views of smaller farmers.
“DEFRA needs to recognise the role of small-scale producers in contributing to the national food economy, as well as the environmental and social services provided by these producers,” says Ed Hamer from the LWA. “As a matter of urgency we demand that DEFRA create policies conducive to a sustainable food future for all.”
The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.
Photo Opportunity: The LWA will have two giant scarecrows on the pavement outside the offices one with the head of Owen Patterson, the other representing the NFU leadership. There will also be a “Farmers’ Market” stall to demonstrate the productivity of our members.
Press Contact: Adam Payne: 07951060409 / Jyoti Fernandes: 07875 849754 / Ed Hamer: 07858 381539