I HOPE you all enjoyed the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and that Welsh lamb and Welsh beef made an appearance on your dinner tables at some point during the holiday period, writes FUW president Glyn Roberts.

As more and more details have emerged about food fraud and meat imports being passed off as British amongst other highly unethical practices, we can’t stress enough the importance of appropriate checks at our borders and ensuring that our food is traceable. 

We must be able to trust the label on our food packaging and I sincerely hope that there will be severe consequences for those responsible for creating this mess which is so damaging for trust in our produce.

The consequences for the sector are huge and farmers are certainly not to blame for the public losing trust in the food that they see on the shelves of our supermarkets.

From a consumer perspective, you’d be right to have concerns, especially as the weekly food shopping bill isn’t going down.

READ MORE: FUW continues to highlight importance of farm safety

We have every right to expect quality and honesty when we buy our food.

To put the cost into context though, we must remember that over last summer, agricultural inputs’ inflation reached  highs of almost 30 per cent.

The increase in feed, fertiliser and energy costs has had a significant impact on the industry.

Agflation continues to outpace general economic inflation (CPI) as well as agricultural outputs and food prices (denoted by CPI Food).

This is the key finding of Andersons’ Agflation estimates for January.

So, clearly, the problem has not gone away. 

The latest estimates put Agflation at 18.7 per cent annually, significantly ahead of agricultural outputs (11.1 per cent).

Although the CPI and CPI Food indices continue to rise, currently standing at 10.5 and 16.8 per cent respectively, there is still a gap between the food price inflation that consumers face and the increased input costs that farmers must manage.

Therefore, UK agriculture continues to experience a cost of farming squeeze.

Although Agflation remains at a higher level than the increase in food prices, it is finally declining, which is good news for our industry.

In July 2022, Agflation peaked at 26.3 per cent.

That said, whilst the easing of inflationary pressures within the agricultural sector is welcomed, it should be noted that throughout 2022, agricultural input cost inflation generally surpassed price rises for agricultural outputs. 

Whilst general economic inflation looks to have peaked and several commentators are forecasting that the inflation rate will decline significantly during 2023, food prices continue to rise.

This should not come as a surprise at this juncture because there tends to be a lag between the rates of inflation for agricultural commodities (inputs and outputs) and the inflation rate for food prices. 

In the past year or so, this lag has been in the region of six months.

With agricultural inflation peaking in July, one would anticipate that the CPI Food index will also peak shortly, if it has not already done so.

So hopefully, things will start to ease off a bit for consumers and producers.

Nonetheless, it’s not difficult to see why as consumers we’re finding it tough to pay the prices that we face and this is especially true when what we thought we had purchased was high quality Welsh and British produce turns out to be wrongly labelled stuff from other countries that might not meet our stringent food safety and animal health standards.