OFC - UK Punching Above its Farming Weight

UK - A new report prepared for the Oxford Farming Conference shows that there has been a shift in power worldwide in agriculture as a result of globalisation of markets and the growth of multinational corporations, writes Chris Harris from the Oxford Farming Conference.
calendar icon 4 January 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

However, the report spells out that while the UK may be a relatively small player, it punches above its weight as a farming power.

The report shows that the UK should not be underestimated as a farming nation.

The fact that the UK acts as a base for several transnational corporations boosts the UK's position as a farming power globally.

The consolidation of these corporations has seen a move away from the power of governments in the agricultural field to corporate businesses.

This offers opportunities as well as threats for the farming community.

"Farmers and other stakeholders continue to wield influence over policy and can use this to shape the way TNCs operate," the report says.

"Because of its size, the UK may not be well endowed with natural resources and therefore its position as an agricultural player depends on its ability to become significantly more productive.

"This requires a focus on policies that boost productivity such as investment in R&D."

Cedric Porter, chairman of the Oxford Farming Conference said: "Despite being a small nation, the UK currently ranks respectably for political, corporate and trade power, but is vulnerable in the long-term to the availability and control over natural and mineral resources.

"If the British Isles is to continue to punch above its weight on the global agricultural stage, it will need to strengthen output - it is vital for farming and for our future food security."

UK Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, commenting on the report, said: "It is clear that British food and farming already punches above its weight and with more mouths to feed in the world with a growing population, the industry's going to have huge opportunities to export high quality British products to emerging markets.

The report has been written by the Scottish Agricultural College.

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