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Farmers Integral Role In Future Food Policy Development Must Be Recognised


The package of food policy measures announced by Defra today (Mon) is a positive step but the integral role of British farmers and growers in the development and delivery of future policy must be recognised.

The documents, which analyse in detail the security and sustainability of the UK food supply, the Government’s progress against the challenges set by the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit report Food Matters, and a vision for the food system in 2030, draw together the many strands of food policy that exist within Government.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: “This is an important step in delivering a joined up policy from the variety of government departments that have an involvement with food. The Secretary of State’s firm commitment to domestic farming earlier this year is evident throughout this package but Defra now need to see farmers and growers as integral to the development and delivery of food policy towards 2030.

“The government has made progress against the work identified in Food Matters last year but, by its own recognition, this was never an exhaustive list of the issues that the food system, and particularly agriculture, faces. We urge Ministers to push for progress in areas that are important to agriculture including the improvement of the co-ordination of food research, understanding the GM issues in the animal feed market and their impact on the pig and poultry sectors, and delivering the grocery market ombudsman.

“While Defra’s food security assessment shows the UK is food secure today, the on-going challenge will be to maintain and improve that position. The role of domestic food producers in helping to deliver that security cannot be underestimated and we are pleased to see recognition of the need to create the conditions for a competitive, sustainable domestic production to thrive.

“We look forward to contributing to the development of indicators for a sustainable food system but these indicators must focus on the sustainability of imported food, not just that which is domestically produced. It would make no sense to insist our production was sustainable but increasingly rely on imports that are not.”

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