The British agriculture industry will work with Government on its plan to grow more, buy more and sell more British food at home and abroad, the NFU has told MPs.
The organisation’s president Meurig Raymond, who hosted an event at the House of Lords, said it was crucial that everyone works together to halt the alarming decline in the nation’s self-sufficiency.
However, he added that despite the Government’s detailed and positive growth agenda, there is still work to be done to address key issues such as burdensome regulation and the need for the Groceries Code Adjudicator’s powers to be extended.
“This new Government comes to power with a detailed and positive agenda for agriculture,” Mr Raymond said.
“There is a welcome match in areas like investing for growth, securing access to knowledge and technology, enhancing farmers’ ability to tackle animal and plant health, building safe and secure food chains and protecting key environmental assets.
“Their goals for farming are ambitious - British farming with plans to grow more, buy more and sell more British food at home and abroad.
“The NFU and the farming industry share this ambition, to reverse long-term declines in farming productivity and the nation’s self-sufficiency.”
He added that, in line with the Government’s take on the matter, the NFU believed in a science-led approach to policy decisions.
“For example, access to new biotechnology, GM crops and pesticides will ensure farmers have the tools to produce more food with less impact on the environment,” he said.
“Likewise, science should also guide the management of animal disease, such as bovine TB. Urgent implementation of the TB Eradication Strategy is a top priority.”
Regulation that was “impractical or poorly drafted”, meanwhile, remained a “major block to growing competitiveness for most farm businesses”.
“The proposal for a single ‘Farm Inspectorate’ could be a move in the right direction, as is implementing earned recognition for Red Tractor assured farms,” Mr Raymond said.
“Cross party manifestos recognised that the food chain must be fairer and more transparent in its dealings with producers.
“We need to extend the grocery supply code so that primary producers are protected from unfair trading practice. Finally, we need a grown up and factual debate about Europe, based on facts rather than ideology.
“We need to have an informed discussion based on the value of trade, labour supply requirements, EU and UK regulations and of course CAP.”