NFU and Soil Association commend Paterson’s vision

Major players in UK farming and agriculture have supported Owen Paterson’s call for self-suffuciency after the environment secretary spoke at the Oxford Farming Conference on Tuesday.

Paterson called for agricultural imports to be substituted by British products and for the public sector to take advantage of the UK’s quality produce.

“As British farmers and food producers, you know that we grow some of the best food in the world here – so why is 24% of the food eaten in the UK imported when it could be produced here?

“The Countess of Chester Hospital is one of many hospitals and schools that are leading the way in sourcing locally. The Trust buys 92% of its food from the UK. They have cut their meat bill by a fifth by sourcing fresh rather than frozen or poorer-quality meat,” he said.

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) chief horticulture adviser Hayley Campbell-Gibbons said Paterson had their full backing on the subject.

“We can only commend the Secretary of State for wanting to promote British agriculture. We’ve long said we need to be more self-sufficient in this country and called for more to be done in the supply chain as part of our ground-breaking Catalyst for Change report. We support this aspiration and look forward to helping cut through the barriers to increasing production,” she said.

Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director also showed his support. “The Soil Association strongly supports Owen Paterson’s desire to see more food produced in the UK, where it can be. We look forward to seeing him take action to see that this happens,” he said.

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