Defra figures show further job losses

UK - The NFU today expressed its considerable concern at the continuing contraction in the country’s farming industry, despite improvements in farm income and the fight by producers to stay in business
calendar icon 21 November 2003
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Figures published today by Defra show another 17,200 farmers and farm workers left the agricultural industry in England in the 12 months to June 2003. Data for Scotland and Wales will be published separately.

A breakdown of the figures shows that 5,900 full and part time farmers left the industry, 10,700 workers and 600 farm managers.

The total job losses represent a fall of 4.6% in the workforce.

NFU President Sir Ben Gill said: “We all know about the determination of our farmers and growers to stay in business, despite extraordinarily low incomes in previous years.

“The industry has made huge advances in responding to the needs of our customers and consumers. These initiatives range from local markets to major collaborative ventures. Much of these take time to work through to the benefit of farmers and there is still more we can do to secure our future.“

Sir Ben Gill continued: “These figures demonstrate just how incredibly tough it has been for the industry and that our future is still precarious.

“Achieving sustained profitability to enable investment remains a critical target. This is a message for us, for government and for all involved in the countryside and the food industry. We are resolved to strive to create a brighter future for farming.“

The industry has been radically pared down in recent years as farmers have endeavoured to reduce costs. Today’s figures bring the total job losses for the industry to more than 80,000 in England since the crisis began in 1996.

Source: National Farmers Union - 21st November 2003

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