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Foot and mouth costs farmers' markets £2.5 m

Farmers' markets are reeling from the impact of the foot and mouth crisis which has so far cost producers £2.5million, reveals a survey released today* by the National Association of Farmers' Markets (NAFM).

Since the onset of foot and mouth, 80% of farmers' markets have closed as a precautionary measure to prevent spreading the disease.

With a third of the 1,200 producers attending farmers' markets depending on the markets for 60% of their turnover, the financial implications of the closure of these markets on their businesses is disastrous.

Local economies are also feeling the knock-on effect. Retailers, cafes and businesses in the vicinity of farmers' markets are reported to be suffering loss of business as a result of markets being postponed during the crisis.

But in many parts of the country - where foot and mouth does not present a risk - farmers' markets are hoping to re-open over the coming months.

Arundel Farmers' Market will be kicking off the Easter weekend with a fantastic array of fresh quality produce at the Spring Craft Fair at Alexandra Palace in London.

NFU President, Ben Gill said: 'Farmers' markets are a lifeline for many British producers.

'Buying fresh, local food from farmers' markets is one the best ways that shoppers can show their support for British farmers during this time of crisis.

'Farmers' markets also offer shoppers an excellent opportunity to talk directly to producers themselves and find out more about the very high standards of food safety, animal welfare and the environment which British food is produced to,' said NFU President, Ben Gill.

NAFM co-ordinator, James Pavitt, co-ordinator said: 'Closing down farmers' markets was a necessary but drastic measure in the fight against foot and mouth.

'But in those parts of the country where it is now safe for markets to resume, I would urge the public to support our smaller producers and enjoy the tastiest fresh, local food on offer at farmers' markets.'

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