Wales

'Struggling' farmers join rally in London

Farmers at the rally

Hundreds of Welsh farmers have travelled to London to join a rally to raise awareness of the "crisis" facing the industry.

Dairy farmers said they are struggling to cope with fluctuating milk prices, warning of "devastation" to west Wales if the situation does not improve.

They joined about 2,000 farmers and supporters to march through Trafalgar Square to Downing Street.

A letter of concern was then handed to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Nigel Batten, who has a dairy farm near Tenby, Pembrokeshire, said the farming industry was "on its knees" and was facing a "crisis".

"We have volatility in the dairy industry, we have nothing controlling the production of milk. It just goes from one extreme to the other," he said.

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Media captionSpeaking on the way to the rally, farmer Carwyn James said there was a feeling of "hopelessness" among farmers on the issue

"One minute they want more milk so farmers expand their businesses, the next they want less.

"I would say 20% of dairy farmers are not going to survive the next 12 months.

"And if the industry collapses, we will see devastation in west Wales as so much of the area relies on farming."

He said four coach-loads of farmers and their supporters travelled from Carmarthen to London on Wednesday morning to join farmers from around the UK.

The rally was organised by pressure group Farmers 4 Action, and was supported by rural businesses reliant on the agricultural industry.

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Media captionWelsh farmer say the price of milk is affecting "everybody" in the rural community

"Our aim is to get the message out that we can't survive on what we're being paid," added Mr Batten, who is a Farmers 4 Action coordinator for west Wales .

"If the UK population are happy to live on imported food with a much lower [animal] welfare standards then that's what will happen."

Dairy farmer Miranda Bowen, from Carmarthen, said she had been in farming all her life and the situation was "the worst it has been".

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