The former Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron called the British food market “broken” at their spring conference.
His comments came in the wake of his party passing a motion calling for a new agricultural policy, which recognizes the crucial role that farming and horticulture play in producing food and providing employment, according to Farming UK.
Farron, who was succeeded as leader by Vince Cable last year, said that Michael Gove’s agricultural plans sought to “win headlines”, adding that retailers possessed “total domination” of the industry.
“Michael Gove’s farming proposals have been written to win headlines, without thinking through the real impact on our rural communities,” he said.
“It is right that overall income support payments should be reduced, and that we should be helping farmers to provide public goods such as environmental schemes.
“But support payments in some form continue to be necessary because of our broken food market and the total domination of supermarkets and food processors.
“We also need to ensure that smaller family farms are protected from the impact of Brexit. Abruptly removing direct payments for these farms could make them completely non-viable.
“Not only would that be a tragedy for our farmers, it would damage our landscape and reduce Britain's ability to feed itself.”