LONDON – UK Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said four priorities will shape long-term economic policy for the United Kingdom's food and farming industries.
In a speech to the National Farmers Union, Truss said improving the resilience of the industry in the face of global markets; developing markets in the UK and abroad; simplifying European Union regulations to enable food producers to innovate and grow their businesses; and protecting the UK from plant and animal disease outbreaks.
“Our long-term economic plan for food and farming will unlock the potential of this vital industry – by encouraging more talented entrepreneurs to pursue a career in food, removing unnecessary bureaucracy, protecting the industry from plant and animal diseases, and opening new markets for top quality British food both at home and overseas,” Truss said.
The four pillar plan includes helping farmers manage market volatility and enabling the industry to expand food products through the creation of Food Enterprise Zones, which connect farming, manufacturing, distribution and retail firms.
Opening up new domestic and foreign markets will involve more regional food suppliers to apply for Protected Food Name status. The UK currently has 62 products, while France has 219 registered products.
Truss said another priority will be making the European work for the UK by encouraging Europe to embrace scientific advances, such as those developed in genetically modified products.
Finally, the UK must guard against animal disease by maintaining the number of frontline veterinarians to protect farm businesses and following through on the country's comprehensive strategy to eradicate bovine tuberculosis by 2038.
“Britain’s food and farming industry is a powerhouse of our economy – contributing £100 billion each year and employing one in eight people - and has huge potential to deliver further jobs and growth,” Truss said.