[2 August/EuroFruit]

DEFRA Secretary, Michael Gove, called for increased flexibility to help drought hit farmers in the UK, but the National Farmers Union want to also address market volatility. The summer of 2018 is turning out to be one of the driest summers in memory and the warmest July on record. Mr Gove promised to ensure farmers had what they needed in order to provide the high quality food the country needs and allow their business to survive. Farmers reported decreased harvests and yields as a result of the dry conditions. The Environment Agency said farmers would be allowed some flexibility within their water abstraction licences. Head of Water Resources, Paul Hickey, noted they needed to balance farmers’ needs with those of wildlife and other water users. Mr Gove added the government wanted to be flexible and would not allow bureaucracy to prevent farmers getting the support they need. NFU President, Minette Batters, said it was too soon to know if poor harvests would lead to higher prices for consumers.