Vast majority of public want farmers to be paid fairly, survey says

The research shows that 88% want farmers and other food producers to be paid more fairly for their work
The research shows that 88% want farmers and other food producers to be paid more fairly for their work

The vast majority of the British public believe that farmers should be paid fairly for their work, according to a new survey.

Nationwide polling by Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC) confirms that the public want change in the UK's food and farming system.

The charity said the results highlight that the public are "surprised that farmers take such a small share of what customers pay at the till".

Over two-thirds (68%) of Britons say it is important that the food system helps to resolve inequalities within society, while 82% say it is important that food is produced without harming the planet.

The vast majority (87%) say it’s important that everyone in society has enough healthy food, and 88% think it is important for farmers to be paid fairly for their work.

And in other significant majorities, people back more support for farmers to help them transition to more sustainable farming practices (68%).

The research also found that people are willing to spend more for their shopping if the food is healthier and more sustainable.

Sue Pritchard, chief executive of the FFCC said: “Citizens clearly have a sophisticated appreciation of all the issues around food – how it’s grown, processed, advertised, eaten, and wasted.

"Citizens want food to be fairer, healthier, greener - and they want governments and businesses, who have the power and resources, to level the playing field for everyone.“

The results are based on public dialogue sessions in Birmingham and Cambridge held over the summer, as well as a national poll of 2,000 people.

Despite politicians often suggesting the public ‘don’t want a nanny state’, the FFCC's research shows that people want the government to act.

The poll found that 75% of the public think that the government is ‘not doing enough’ to ensure that everyone can afford healthy food.

There is also little support for lowering standards to lower costs: more than three quarters of people say that the government should aspire to high standards (77%).

It comes as farm leaders and celebrities continue to urge the nation's biggest retailers to provide a fairer deal to the UK's struggling farmers, as many are 'on their knees'.

An open letter addressed to the CEOs of the nation’s 'big six' supermarkets has been signed by over 100 leading figures and industry bodies.

It calls on retailers to 'pay what you agreed to pay', 'buy what you committed to buy', 'agree on fair specifications' and 'pay on time'.

Part of a new #GetFairAboutFarming campaign launched by organic farming firm Riverford, the letter asks for better business practices to safeguard the future of the industry.