National Farmers' Union: Conclusion

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The National Farmers' Union of England and Wales has long enjoyed access to the inner corridors of power, much more so than many other unions. Its undemocratic structure has ensured that wealthy establishment farmers have used this access to feather their own nests. Times are changing and as their privileged access to government is slipping and food production is restructured globally by multinational agribusiness, the NFU has either failed to understand or chosen not to understand and deliberately obfuscated the real causes of the farming crisis. This is leading the NFU to collaborate with rather than to condemn the very agribusinesses, from supermarkets to agrochemicals companies, that are exploiting farmers worldwide. Whilst seeming to advocate that UK farmers should be globally competitive, they continue to support subsidies for big farms i.e. themselves. Meanwhile, their small and family farmer members, whose system of farming is proven to be more environmentally and socially beneficial, are going to the wall.

Hope lies in the new farming organisations who are genuinely representative of farmers at the grassroots, and who are attempting to educate farmers in the reality of the farming crisis. Many of these organisations are calling for the regulation of multinational agrifood corporations, including the supermarkets, whose monopoly power is proving so destructive to farmers, local communities and the environment.