BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 1 July, 2002, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Cheap food damaging UK, says Charles
Prince Charles
A light-hearted moment before the show opened
Prince Charles has highlighted the damage being done to the UK countryside by imports of cheap food, in his opening speech at this year's Royal Show in Warwickshire.

Four days of exhibitions at the UK's premier agriculture show are designed to show that Britain is "back in business" after last year's foot-and-mouth disease crisis.

The Prince paid tribute to the work of all those involved in the "horrors" of 2001.

"They were dark days for so many farmers, their families and many more in the wider community," he said.

Prince Charles
A pensive Prince Charles spelled out his concerns
The main thrust of his speech on Monday was aimed at looking to the future of British farming rather than dwelling on the past.

He said farmers must work together with supermarkets and if farming was to have a future, a new relationship must be built.

"I have to say that it is utterly incredible to me that farming - the basic industry of mankind - can be in such a state of crisis as it is today," the Prince said.

"The consumer needs to be made more aware that the seemingly endless desire for convenience and the lowest price has a direct impact, like it or not, on the producer.

Price matters

"There is a real cost involved in cheap food to the countryside, to those who live and work there and to animal welfare.

"Of course, I understand only too well that price matters a great deal for many families in this country.

The Prince said: "Situations can change in the world unexpectedly and there could easily come a day when the UK might be reduced to relying on its own resources again.

"So let us not sacrifice long-term security for short-term convenience."

The Prince also welcomed the shift, signalled by this year's Food and Farming Commission Report, the Curry Report, to move away from intensified food production towards quality.


I remain convinced that organic farming is a way forward for some farmers

Prince of Wales

"The UK may have difficulty competing with mass food producers, like the bread baskets of America and Central Europe, but what we do produce even for the mainstream market can be of a superior quality and service," he said.

"Whatever the short-term difficulties which are being faced by dairy farmers, I remain convinced that organic farming is a way forward for some farmers.

"I maintain that it is a more sustainable form of husbandry in terms of the long-term health of the soil, plants and animals.

"Supermarkets are forever saying that they cannot find sufficient quantities of organic produce to meet the demand and it seems to me utterly crazy that this food is imported when it could so easily be produced in this country."

Police expect 200,000 people to attend the show at the National Agricultural Centre at Stoneleigh Park.

 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


Analysis

Background

AUDIO VIDEO

CLICKABLE GUIDES

FORUM

INTERNET LINKS
See also:

14 May 02 | England
07 Feb 02 | England
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes