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Farmers Stage Tesco Tractor Protest Against Imports

Farmers have positioned their tractors in a supermarket car park as a demonstration against inexpensive imports, aiming to garner support from the British populace.



Approximately 20 tractors were stationed at Tesco Extra in Whitfield, near Dover, to highlight the jeopardy to the UK's food security due to the "unfair" treatment of British farmers. This marks the second occasion within a fortnight that tractors have converged on the town.


The protest at the port last Friday disrupted distribution from 5pm to 8pm. Demonstrations throughout Dover prompted the deployment of police officers at the docks. Jeffery Gibson, an East Kent livestock and potato farmer, criticised the government's policy, which he believes will result in crops being cultivated abroad.


"They're pushing us towards greening the country and reducing our CO2 emissions, which is brilliant in theory, apart from every single one of those crops that is not being grown in this country is going to be grown aboard," he stated.


Following their departure from the supermarket, the tractors proceeded through Dover town centre, passing down Maison Dieu Road at the junction with Pencester Road just before 12.25pm.


The tractors moved at the standard speed limit, in contrast to their previous procession at a walking pace, allowing cars to pass freely in the second lane of the one-way street. Despite the farmers' call on social media for locals to show their support by waving flags, an earlier-than-expected rainfall left the streets nearly deserted, though many drivers expressed their support by sounding their horns.


Steve Skinner, a farmer from Coldred in the Dover district, explained, "This is about food being sold under the cost to produce it. That's illegal in Europe but allowed here. It's not sustainable." He detailed the demonstration's route from Whitfield down the A256 Maison Dieu Road and Castle Street, with tractors then seen heading west along the A20 Townwall Street.


The demonstration, reportedly organised through word of mouth, coincides with escalating protests across Europe against EU measures and rising prices, with road blockades reported in Belgium, Spain, Poland, and Hungary. European farmers have voiced concerns over stringent regulations, dominant retailers, debt, climate change, and cheap foreign imports, arguing that the EU's agricultural system favours mass production as cheaper and superior.


While France has been a major centre of these protests, similar actions have occurred in Italy, Spain, Romania, Poland, Greece, Germany, Portugal, and the Netherlands. The protests, which began last week over government policy, saw tractors descending on Dover on Friday.

Sadie Howland, a protestor and owner of SP Howland, farming off Iffin Lane near Canterbury, expressed her disgust at the government's treatment of her family, part of a 100-year farming legacy.


She emphasised the need for public awareness about the situation. "There is going to be further action, but at the moment, we’re unable to comment on where and when," she disclosed to KentOnline.


"Once it’s all in place, we will start to let everyone know. We had quite a few opinions at our meeting last night – there was about 50 to 60 farmers there. It was a really good meeting. We’ll keep going until someone listens."


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