Sector leaders greet Food 2030 as 'significant milestone' but want results

The industry has welcomed the Government's Food 2030 strategy but leading figures are keeping a close eye on how the plan is delivered to see whether the promises made by the Government are kept.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: "Having identified the core issues for the food system, Government will need to achieve the right balance. Farmers and growers are demonstrating that they can produce more food while impacting less. What we need now are policies that underpin and enhance a productive agriculture sector."

The Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) also welcomed parts of the strategy, such as Defra's commitment to reduce unnecessary administration, but criticised other areas such as its "failure" to mention the potential of the schools fruit and vegetables scheme.

A representative said: "The FPC has been lobbying for the expansion of the successful schools fruit and vegetables scheme and it's disappointing that the strategy fails to acknowledge the proven potential of this initiative."

British Retail Consortium food policy director Andrew Opie said: "The Government deserves credit for putting this plan together but delivery is what matters. It must create an environment across Whitehall that joins up policy making and allows all parts of the industry to work with customers to go on improving the way food is produced and consumed.

"Food is part of a range of issues including health and climate change. These are big issues that need the Government to pursue a long-term strategy without being diverted by headline-grabbing gimmicks or the fads of the moment."

Other organisations, such as the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), welcomed the plan. Managing director Andy Ormiston said: "The launch of Food 2030, which stresses the need to produce more and impact less, is a significant milestone towards securing a viable future for British agriculture."

He added: "As the leading provider of environmental advice to farmers, the FWAG welcomes the emphasis on sustainable production that recognises that commercial agriculture must go hand-in-hand with a healthy farmland environment."

James Clarke, sustainable crop management science and business development manager for agricultural and environmental consultancy ADAS and chairman of the Pesticides Forum, said: "There's no doubt that food security is one of the biggest challenges facing us — it is certainly on a par with global warming and energy security - so the Government's refocus to include increasing productivity was absolutely vital."

He added: "As long as it is managed properly, increased productivity could actually benefit the environment. Improved efficiency means better use of resources. Achieving higher yields from smaller land areas is crucial for protecting forest and natural vegetation that absorbs carbon dioxide."

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