Food to move higher up the political agenda

Food to move higher up the political agenda

British food looks set to move up the political agenda as, for the second time in a fortnight, NFU Peter Kendall joined key figures from the UK’s agricultural sector for a farming lunch at Downing Street.

Following last week’s Feeding Britain’s Future: Skills for Work Week, where Kendall highlighted the career opportunities available in the farming sector, this time he set out on behalf of the industry how farming can keep delivering for Britain – if politicians, businesses and farmers work together to capitalise on the opportunities in the coming years.

“With a new ministerial team in DEFRA, and with the Prime Minister recently saying in the House of Commons that he wants the department to back British food, I hope that the importance of agriculture to the economy is really starting to get the political recognition it deserves,” said Kendall.

“I want to take the message to the Prime Minister that farming can deliver for Britain – we can continue to grow our food and drink exports beyond the 11 per cent growth we experienced in 2011; we can grow our domestic market too, ensuring the secure supply of top quality food that I believe the British public want, beyond the 60 per cent of home-grown food they currently consume; and we can provide much needed jobs, building on the 10,000 extra people who joined the farm workforce between 2010 and 2011.

“There are challenges for all of us in getting there. Farmers will more than ever have to demonstrate a willingness to innovate and to adopt new technologies and techniques; food businesses and retailers will have to show a long-term commitment to their supply-chains rather than the endless squeezing of margins that is the hallmark of short-termism; and politicians need to recognise that they can shape the environment to enable farming to grow, such as through a planning system that acknowledges the importance of food production and a tax system that rewards rather than hampers capital investment.”

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