NFU launches campaign to highlight contribution of farming
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has launched a new campaign to educate the public about the contribution that the farming sector makes to Britain.
The Farming Delivers for Britain campaign was launched today (21 May), alongside a new report which reveals how important agriculture is to the country’s economy and how it can contribute to its recovery.
The report revealed that the agri-food sector contributed £85bn to the UK economy last year, while helping to keep some 3.5 million people in work. It also showed that UK farming contributed £8.84bn GVA to the UK economy last year, a 25% increase from the year before, and that food and drink has become the UK’s fourth-largest exporting sector.
Launching the report, NFU president Peter Kendall said: “I don’t want to dwell on the past; today is about celebrating all that farmers and growers deliver to this country and its people every day. But I do want to acknowledge what a tremendous turnaround we have seen, certainly in the past 10 years. The NFU has restated and, over time, re-established the case for our productive farming industry. No-one now seriously doubts the need for this country to have an efficient, productive, environmentally-conscious British farming sector, or the value that it, and we as farmers and growers, can deliver on all fronts.
“As this report details, farming is now expected to deliver – and not just on fresh, quality, affordable food, but also in providing cleaner, green energy and exciting and dynamic careers for our young people, while not forgetting the other staples of British farming; world-leading standards of animal welfare and environmental enhancement and protection.
“So, what are we campaigning for? I’m not asking for any special treatment. Today is about showcasing what farming delivers for Britain. And we want to continue building on today’s good news story by working with government to replace, what can be, piecemeal and contradictory approaches to food and farming, to ensure there are policies in place that sees the UK becoming more self-sufficient; protecting its own food supply and building on today’s economic success story for the future prosperity and well-being of this country.
“For consumers I say this. Britain’s self-sufficiency in food has dropped by 15% in the past 20 years, but I know everyone can do their bit by enjoying a more seasonal diet and eating more British food when it’s at its best. Buying more local food also helps to make a big difference to the communities closest to us. So, our message is simple; ask for British food. Make it British, make it local and make it happen.”
The campaign report will be handed over to MPs at a special House of Commons reception later today.
Defra farming minister Jim Paice said: “Farming is no longer the quaint old industry which has served Britain well in the past, but is doing so much more today,” he said. “Now farmers are using techniques and technology we couldn’t have dreamed of 50 years ago and in this new rapidly-growing global food market they face huge opportunities to deliver real wealth for our economy.
“Government and industry have got to work together to build on the strengths showcased today, to see farming become as efficient and forward-looking as possible, so it can meet the huge food production challenges ahead.”
For more information visit the new Farming Delivers website at www.farmingdelivers.co.uk