Carola Godman Irvine. Farmer, Campaigner & Columnist. 17-03-21

  • Written by Carola Godman Irvine
  • Posted on Mar 17, 2021
  • Articles

British farmers were urged to ‘seize the golden opportunities’ of the middle-class Asian export market, as the Government launched its new post-Brexit trade campaign.

Emerging markets in Asia are where the ‘real opportunities lie for Britain and our farmers,’ Liz Truss recently told the National Farmers Union conference.

The Secretary of State is quite right when she said Britain can become a world leader in exporting ‘high-value and high standard produce’. But, if our local abattoirs do not qualify for AVA Certification without financial support, those Asian markets will find their ‘quality’ beef and other supplies elsewhere.

We have customers waiting impatiently in Singapore to take delivery of Ote Hall Sussex grass fed beef. Unfortunately the closest AVA certified abattoir is in Scotland. A journey I am not prepared to put my livestock through, and an expense which would wipe out any profits we could make.

Our local abattoir is 15 minutes down the road. For the past eighteen months Ministers at both DEFRA and the Department of Trade have been made aware of the need for grants and funding to help small local family run abattoirs upgrade their facilities so they can offer farmers across the county the certification they require to export. Added to which the over thirty month scheme must be abandoned.

Both issues would open up the market and allow farms such as Ote Hall to send our quality produce to Asia, bringing valuable income into the UK and support the farming industry.

Liz Truss says that by the end of this decade, 66 per cent of the world’s middle class consumers are expected to be found in Asia, and they are hungry for top quality food and drink. Produced from farm to fork to the very highest standards.

I sincerely hope she will bring forward her predictions, and visit Sussex sometime soon to understand the urgency, so we can get our quality meat out there now, not in ten years’ time!

Oliver Poole’s important front page article last week on fly-tipping is clearly a national problem which needs addressing. Most of us do not go about the countryside dumping loads of rubbish in gate ways, fields and beauty spots. However, some of us are equally responsible for dropping litter across the countryside leaving a trail as we discard bottles, coffee cups, crisp packets, poo bags and face masks.

Farmers and landowners are tired of clearing up behind members of the public who clearly consider their rubbish to be some else’s problem.

If it were not for kind and responsible locals who take bags with them, and return home laden with other people’s rubbish, our farm would be awash with trash. Ours is not a unique problem, this is happening nationwide.

Occasionally someone declares that next week will be ‘Litter Picking Week’, and hundreds of enthusiasts go out picking up litter. Photos are taken by the local press, everyone is applauded for collecting huge piles of litter, and they all go home.

The litter is dropped all day every day, year in year out. It is now time to name and shame. Take photos of the culprits, ask them to take their litter home and make people responsible for their actions.

Well done WSG for bringing fly tipping to the surface. Perhaps both subjects can be combined in a major effort to protect our beautiful and precious countryside.

We are appalled by David Attenborough’s horrific images of our oceans clogged by plastic waste, and critical of less educated nations seen to dump their household rubbish and raw sewage directly into rivers and seas.

As a nation our behaviour is no better with litter and fly tipping smeared across our green and pleasant land. This is not only disgusting and unacceptable, it is a criminal offence.

To read Carola’s columns in full, go to: www.carolagodmanirvine.com