APRIL 7, 2014: Smallholders and small-scale farmers are staging a demo in London to demand more of a say in our farming future.
Smallholders and small-scale farmers are staging a demo in London to demand more of a say in our farming future. The Landworkers’ Alliance will be holding the demo outside the head office of DEFRA on April 17. The demonstration is part of an ‘international day of peasant struggle’ which will see co-ordinated actions taking place across more than 70 countries worldwide. The events are organised by a group called Via Campesina. The LWA is a coalition of small-scale producers across the UK and says their interests are not acknowledged or represented by DEFRA. Jyoti Fernandes of the LWA said: “Under the leadership of Owen Paterson over the past two years the department has strengthened its support of large-scale industrial agriculture and further marginalised smaller producers. “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.” The LWA is protesting about some aspects of reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and calling on DEFRA reconsider the proposal to scrap Single Farm Payments to holdings of under five hectares. A DEFRA spokesman said: “We appreciate the role that smallholders play in supporting the rural economy and agriculture, and they are able to apply for Pillar 2 agri-environment and other rural development schemes. However, a five hectare threshold for Pillar 1 direct payments is fair to taxpayers and excludes less than 1% of agricultural land.” SEE OUR MAY ISSUE for a full report (on sale April 10).DEMO DETAILS: From noon on April 17 outside DEFRA offices, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P. Email email@example.com or call 0770281 0555.MORE ON LWA: www.landworkersalliance.org.ukPhoto: By Janet Baxter