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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 08:36 GMT 09:36 UK
Charles to mark Royal Show's return
Prince Charles visits a farm
Prince Charles has a keen interest in farming
Prince Charles is to give a speech on the future of farming when he opens an event cancelled last year because of foot-and-mouth disease.

The prince will help mark the return of the 2002 Royal Show at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, on Monday.

He is expected to praise the role of family farms, rare breeds and farmers' markets - topics known to be close to his heart.

Police expect 200,000 people to attend the event at the National Agricultural Centre.

Prince Charles
Charles has pioneered organic farming at his Highgrove estate

Prince Charles will also present gifts of food from the show to soldiers, to recognise the army's efforts to help with the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

The theme of this year's show is expected to stress the need for a broader use of the countryside.

But the shadow of foot-and-mouth is still hanging over the event.

Its organisers, the Royal Agricultural Society of England, said in May that sheep, goats and alpacas would be banned from the show.

It said it was worried the animals could trigger a "false alarm" of foot-and-mouth, as the disease's symptoms are easy to confuse with other things.

GM 'foe'

The prince, who has long supported organic farming, recently renewed his criticism of genetically modified crops.

He said last month that consumers were being denied choice as their governments supported GM crops over increasingly popular organic food - despite consumption growth of 15% a year.

In a speech given in Germany, he also poured scorn on those most critical of "so-called inefficient peasant-farming systems" and small, family, mixed farms across the world.

"(They are) the ones who most frequently take advantage of the very real benefits that they bring whenever they get away from their offices - the food, the wine, the villages, the atmosphere provided by an ancient sustainable landscape," he said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jennie Bond
"Words alone will not solve the industry's problems"

Click here to go to BBC Coventry and Warwickshire


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14 May 02 | England
07 Feb 02 | England
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