NFU President Peter Kendall backs the environment in productivity drive

Improvements in the UK's agricultural productivity should not be at the expense of the natural environment, NFU President Peter Kendall has insisted.

He said there had been a "deliberate misunderstanding" of his earlier remarks on the subject.

Speaking at the Centre for Excellence in UK farming conference, Kendall said: "The challenge is more complex and difficult than just lifting agricultural productivity. When we say that it must be stepped up, that does not mean at the expense of the environment."

He stressed that the NFU remained "100 per cent committed" to the Campaign for the Farmed Environment. But he added: "If, in 40 years' time, biodiversity in Britain is no worse than it is now, that will be a fair achievement. If productivity is no better 40 years from now, we will be in deep trouble."

Kendall had earlier said at the Agricultural Industries Confederation annual conference: "We face the prospect of seeing an area the size of Northamptonshire mothballed as a result of proposed Common Agricultural Policy reforms. Yet Defra ministers seem to remain interested in transferring money away from food production and towards the environment."

He claimed then: "We haven't got a biodiversity crisis in this country. Most of the key environmental indicators have been moving in the right direction and almost 70 per cent of farmland is covered by an agri-environment scheme. What we do have is a productivity crisis."

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

What does the 25-year plan mean for growers?

What does the 25-year plan mean for growers?

Published on 11 January, the Government's long-awaited 'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment' brings together a number of policy strands into a single framework that will impact many sectors, not least fresh produce, over the coming decades.

What will 'embracing change' mean for horticulture?

What will 'embracing change' mean for horticulture?

At the Oxford Farming Conference, whose theme was "embracing change", Defra secretary Michael Gove expanded on what a post-Brexit UK agriculture and land-use policy will look like and how it will impact farmers and growers.

Can growers see off the looming labour crisis by boosting efficiency?

Can growers see off the looming labour crisis by boosting efficiency?

Concern over the availability of seasonal labour to the fresh-produce industry has never been greater.