Outgoing NFU president gives final address

Addressing the NFU Conference for the eighth and final time before stepping down as president, Peter Kendall warned: "Our self-sufficiency in food has shifted into reverse, down from 78 per cent 30 years ago to 62 per cent today.

"And with our rising population, that will continue unless we take action. Yet the EU's proposed Ecologically Favoured Areas will take land out of production. We also need to stop the loss of farmland to rampant and thoughtless urbanisation."

He compared the UK situation with the Republic of Ireland's food strategy, which aims to increase the value of food production by 33 per cent and the value of exports by 40 per cent by 2020.

"The Dutch have identified agriculture as a key sector for growth," said Kendall. "France and Australia have recognised that food and farming is part of the solution," he added.

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