Agriculture Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:06 pm on 10th October 2018.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 1:06 pm, 10th October 2018

I mentioned earlier that an enjoyable part of my job is visiting agricultural shows, where I have had the opportunity of meeting Scottish MSPs, but I have never met a Scottish National party MP at any agricultural show in Scotland that I have visited. I have seen my hon. Friend David Duguid standing up for Scottish farmers. I have seen my hon. Friend Luke Graham standing up for Scottish farmers. I have seen my hon. Friend Colin Clark standing up for Scottish farmers. I have seen my hon. Friend Stephen Kerr standing up for Scottish farmers. I have visited farms with my hon. Friend Kirstene Hair. We can tell by the representation of Scottish Conservative Members here today, and by the dearth of SNP Members, who stands up for rural Scotland. The hon. Gentleman makes a signal and it shows exactly what the Scottish Government are doing for Scotland’s farmers—sweet zero.

Food production is critical, and making sure that farmers get a fair price for their products is important. For too long, farmers have been price takers, because there has been inadequate information about how supply chains work and inadequate powers to intervene. The Government have a duty to step in to support farmers, and we have in this Bill powers to ensure that the data is there for farmers to get a fair price at the farm gate for their produce and, in the event of severe market disturbances, that we can also intervene to ensure that farmers get a fair price.

There is one other critical thing. I mentioned the role of producer organisations earlier. Collaboration is critical not just in delivering environmental improvements at landscape scale, but in making sure that farmers get a fair price for what they produce. This Bill makes provision for increased collaboration.