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Country News - 2002

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The great 75% food rip-off
Tuesday 10 September

THE FULL extent of the Great British food rip-off is revealed for the first time today and it is likely to cause widespread anger - for wholesalers and supermarket chains take three quarters of every penny spent.

For producing the food, the farmer gets just 26% of the final retail price.

These are the results of a nationwide survey carried out by the National Farmers' Union, which yesterday launched a Farming Counts campaign aimed at embarrassing the Government - and informing the general public - about the dire financial state of UK agriculture.

On average, says the union, a basket of farmed produce including beef, eggs, milk, bread, tomatoes and apples typically costs £37 in the shops but a farmer only gets £11 for it at the farm gate - just 26%.

In some sectors, farmers do not even get a quarter of the final price. Cereal farmers receive a paltry 8% of the price of a loaf of bread even though wheat is the main ingredient and pig farmers receive just a shocking 14% of the final sale value of bacon.

To make the point, NFU president Ben Gill, who farms at Easingwold, near York, set up shop in the centre of London yesterday selling fresh produce to passers-by at farm gate prices.

He said: "It is shocking that farmers get so little of the final price of food. Crops and livestock are tended and nurtured by farmers for many months or even years. That investment and care justifies more reward.

"This enormous price discrepancy shows clearly why farmers are having such a difficult time, with many not even recouping the cost of production."

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