OFC - Research in Value and Viability of UK Farming

UK - Research undertaken by the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) confirms a high degree of confidence in a viable future for British farming providing there are stronger joined up strategies, more collaboration and improved science research.
calendar icon 7 January 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

The findings are based on in-depth interviews with 70 representatives from the farming industry, food supply chain and academic institutes spanning the cereals, dairy, red meat, poultry, protein crop and the fruit and vegetable crop sectors.

The report, The Value and Viability of UK Farming, is the third piece of research that the Oxford Farming Conference has undertaken and it was carried out in partnership with dairy nutrition company Volac and crop science company Syngenta by England Marketing.

Cedric Porter, a Director of the Oxford Farming Conference announced the findings stating that "90 per cent see farming being important to the UK economy and see the sector having a wider role in improving health, wellbeing and the environment."

However the confidence is tempered by the need to address some fundamental challenges namely the need for better supply chain collaboration, stronger joined up cross-sector and cross-chain strategies, the requirement for venture capital for agriculture, investment in more skilled workers and the need for much more scientific research.

Andy Richardson, corporate communications manager at Volac concludes that the need for a cross sector development strategy was a major finding of the research.

He said: "Great leadership starts with a clear strategy and the research highlights there is an overwhelming need to develop joined up strategies across all sectors.

"This can only be achieved through a truly collaborative approach between Government and the whole supply chain and we all have a responsibility to listen to different points of view, commit to a unifying strategy and communicate as one voice for the benefit of the industry as a whole."

Luke Gibbs, head of public affairs at Syngenta believes that the research highlights some important lessons about the competitiveness of UK agriculture. He said: "UK farming has to increasingly operate in a world market so it needs to keep ahead by investing in more efficient and productive farming systems. The UK still has a reputation as a leader in agricultural science and technology which is why Syngenta has based one of its main research facilities here. However, we all must build on that reputation if it is to remain a major world force."

Reflecting on the research, Cedric Porter says: "The Oxford Farming Conference Research has become established as a core part of the conference and we are committed to tackling important issues every year to give tangible value to the UK farming industry as part of the conference's charitable status."

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