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UK Government pledges to boost innovation in farming

Posted: 16 May 2024 | | No comments yet

At the Farm to Fork Summit, a new support package to support farmers has been unveiled by the UK Government.

downing street

During the Farm to Fork Summit, hosted by Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the UK at Downing Street, the UK Government revealed support plans for British farmers.

According to the government, the package will help in “grow[ing] the UK’s farming and food sector” through supporting domestic food production, bolstering innovation in the sector assisting it in “reaching its economic potential”. As well as this the government has claimed that it will aid in recruiting the next generation of farming and food leaders.

Commenting on the updates, Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Food security is vital to our national security, which is why today’s summit is so important, bringing together government and key representatives from the farming and food sector at Downing Street.

“Today’s announcements will turbocharge the growth of our horticultural sector supporting the building of cutting-edge glasshouses and innovative farming techniques to put British fruit and vegetables on our plates all-year round. “

Included in the plan is a “Blueprint for Growing the UK Fruit and Vegetable Sector”, which outlines ways in which government and industry can work collaboratively to “increase domestic production and drive investment” into the sector.

The plan aims to:

  • Ensure the sector’s access to affordable and sustainable energy and water.
  • Streamline planning regulations to facilitate quicker construction of glasshouses.
  • Increase investment in innovation, potentially doubling funding for horticulture businesses compared to previous schemes.
  • Publish the first draft of the Food Security Index to aid in monitoring short-term trends in food security across the UK.

What’s more, the government has also outlined how it plans to provide additional support for farmers that have been impacted by wet periods of weather.

In addition, the Government has set out how it will provide further support for farmers affected by the wet weather. Expanding on the commitment to extend the Farming Recovery Fund for flood-affected farmers, temporary adjustments will be set in motion to assist those struggling with Environmental Land Management Scheme requirements.

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Going further, the UK Government has confirmed that it will invest £75 million to boost internal drainage boards (IDBs) to “expedite recovery” from the storms that occurred between winter 2023-24.

In a bid to enhance fairness within the food supply chain, the government is set to roll out new regulations targeting fairness in fresh produce and egg sectors.

“We will continue to invest in and support farmers to produce the best of British food to strengthen our food security, championing innovation in the sector,” continued Barclay.

Meanwhile Mark Spencer, Farming Minister for the UK, claimed: “This government will always back British farmers. Food production is the primary purpose of farming, and our farmers and food producers work hard to keep the nation fed, despite challenges including flooding.

“Supporting our farmers and food producers is at the heart of our plans and we are committed to working with them. We are pressing on with our plan by investing in food security and resilient farming businesses, providing business advice and cutting unnecessary red tape.”

Spencer went on to state that the government is “investing in innovation” as a way to “[ensure] the sector has the labour it needs, further embedding fairness in the supply chain, and making sure the sector is attracting the best and brightest”.

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