Government outlines long-term plan for food and farming

Environment secretary Elizabeth Truss aims to ensure a thriving industry through her long-term economic plan for food and farming, outlined at the NFU Conference this week.

Speaking at the conference in Birmingham, Truss identified four priorities in her plan. These were: improving the resilience and productivity of the industry in the face of global volatile markets; opening up new markets at home and abroad; making EU rules work for the UK; and protecting against plant and animal disease.

She said: “Britain’s food and farming industry is a powerhouse of our economy – contributing £100bn each year and employing one in eight people - and has huge potential to deliver further jobs and growth.

“Our long-term economic plan for food and farming will unlock the potential of this vital industry – by encouraging more talented entrepreneurs to pursue a career in food, removing unnecessary bureaucracy, protecting the industry from diseases, and opening new markets for top-quality British food both at home and overseas.”

Truss wants to improve productivity by encouraging skilled people into the industry, kick-starting local food economies and slashing red tape. In terms of opening up new markets, Truss wants more public procurement of British food, whilst working to open the US beef market and sell more food to China.

The plan outlines aims to make “EU rules work for us”, by encouraging scientific advances in the EU, as well as working to simplify the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Finally, plans to protect from disease include a comprehensive project to eradicate bovine TB by 2038, and upholding the number of frontline vets and “our world-class system” of animal disease prevention.

She added: “Food and farming is absolutely vital. It affects our health, our landscape and the security of our country; three-quarters of our land is used for farming, so nothing has a bigger physical impact on our country.

“It is our largest manufacturing industry, worth more than cars and aerospace combined. This government recognises its importance and we are getting the message out loud and clear.”

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