Minister pledges to protect funds that boost R&D

Minister of state for agriculture and food Jim Paice pledged to try to protect current Defra funds for horticultural research and development, at last week's European Food & Farming Partnerships conference. However, he said that private farms should get involved by sharing their expertise.

Answering a question on the horticultural task force, which recently recommended more investment in research and development, he said: "We will try to protect the money that Defra puts into research and development. But we need to find pockets of money from elsewhere. Creating centres of excellence in private farms could help show other farmers the way to go."

In a 20-minute speech, Paice pointed out that the Government would be encouraging farmers to work more closely with the food industry. He said that farming in Britain - as an industry - is only worth £7bn. However, when food production, catering and retail is taken into consideration, the food industry is worth around £90bn. He said that an industry of this size could create some of the jobs that the country needs.

Food standards should be raised, continued Paice, announcing that public buying standards for food would be introduced by all public bodies, particularly for schools.

He also suggested that the Government would be encouraging farming by having a minimum of regulation. The Government viewed Defra as an economic department, he said, designed to boost industry: "We want this to succeed. Sometimes we have to keep out of the way of successful business."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

This spring, many top-fruit growers in the UK and across Europe were dismayed to discover that swathes of their orchards had been hit by frost.

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

Upcoming reforms to water abstraction licensing will for the first time cap the amount of water that fruit growers can take for trickle irrigation.

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

At a debate during last week's Fruit Focus trade show in Kent, senior industry figures painted a bleak picture of an increasingly difficult seasonal labour market that is already impacting on investment.