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Canterbury Farmers Take to the Streets in Protest Against Food Imports and Supermarket Pricing

In Canterbury, Kent, approximately 200 farmers have voiced their discontent with the importation of foreign foodstuffs and the perceived inadequacies in the remuneration offered by supermarkets for their produce.

A procession of tractors and other agricultural vehicles made its way through the city on Sunday, underlining the agricultural community's grievances.

Richard Ash, who spearheaded the Canterbury demonstration, articulated the farmers' standpoint: "It doesn't make sense to us to bus produce, with high carbon footprint, from all over the world to this country, and then not to support and look after our own farming industry."

The protest, which also highlighted concerns over the detrimental impact of food imports on British farming, received applause from some onlookers as the convoy traversed the city.

One supporter expressed their backing for British food and farming, emphasising the need for government and supermarkets to support local farmers who are currently facing challenges.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) responded with assurances of its support for British farmers, stating, “We firmly back our farmers. British farming is at the heart of British trade and we put agriculture at the forefront of any deals we negotiate, prioritising new export opportunities, protecting UK food standards and removing market access barriers.”

Defra also highlighted the continuation of the £2.4 billion annual farming budget, which aids farmers in producing food both profitably and sustainably. Efforts are being made to enhance fairness in the supply chain, support British farmers and growers, and ensure that customers have access to high-quality fresh British products.

Andrew Opie, the British Retail Consortium's director of food and sustainability, acknowledged the pressures on British farmers and the commitment of retailers to source the majority of their food from within the UK, ensuring farmers are paid a sustainable price.

He noted, however, that retailers are also contending with additional costs and are striving to mitigate food price inflation during a period when many households are struggling to afford essentials.

This protest in Canterbury follows a previous demonstration involving a tractor go-slow at the port of Dover, further highlighting the agricultural sector's ongoing concerns.


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