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UK Farming Needs to Produce More Not Less

by 5m Editor
30 June 2011, at 8:18am

UK - Farmers in the UK need to produce more, not less, NFU Vice President Gwyn Jones told the ‘Inside Government’ forum on food security in London.

Mr Jones outlined some of the progress that is being made in food and farming, and covered changes in the messages coming from the Government, investment in science and technology, and what farmers are doing to address skills shortages.

Congratulating the Government on the recent commitment made in its Natural Environment White Paper, Mr Jones said: “It will bring together a group to work on how to achieve the dual goals of improving the environment and increasing food production at the same time. That is in line with last week’s declaration by the G20 agricultural ministers.

“The Government’s commitment to set up a group to reconcile how they will achieve these two goals is a step forward. The result might not end up being called a ‘food plan’ but the title isn’t as important as the message that we need to produce more in this country.

“We would be completely out of line with our European and G20 partners if the Government didn’t have increasing production as an explicit policy goal. We in the developed world, the rich west, have to increase production too. We can’t just leave it to developing countries to feed us.

“On science and research, we recognised a long time ago that individual farm businesses weren’t in a position to spend vast sums on their own research. But if we pool our resources together, we can. That’s why it is so encouraging to see the HGCA, for example, investing in research projects aimed at increasing wheat yields. That’s a great example of farmers playing their part.

“On training and skills, we know a lot of training is happening on our farms, but it is often informal and on-the-job. We have to get more professional about it, so that the skills people are developing are given formal recognition. That’s a big challenge, but we’re making progress as an industry.”