Britain's farming sector has defied the recession in recent years by contributing an additional £8.6bn to the UK economy, according to new research.
The study, released yesterday on the first day of the National Farmers’ Union’s annual conference in Birmingham, reveals that the UK agriculture’s contribution to the economy increased by 54% between 2007 and 2012.
The report, entitled Backing the Business of British Farming, also claims that food and drink is now the UK’s fourth largest export sector, having grown by 2.5% in the first half of 2013.
NFU president Peter Kendall said: “The achievements shown in this report prove that farming has been delivering for Britain’s economy despite the challenges thrown at us over the past couple of years - heavy rain, drought, unseasonable snow and in recent weeks we have all seen the impacts of flooding across the country.
“We are growing businesses. We are creating jobs.
Hea added: “If the Government is looking for a sector to kick-start growth and rebalance the economy then they should start by looking at agriculture.”
The report found that agriculture contributed an additional £8.6bn more to the UK economy between 2008 and 2012 than it did from 2003 to 2007.