Sustainable Farming and Food: One Year On

UK - A more profitable, diverse, competitive and environmentally sensitive farming and food industry is taking shape after a year of solid progress in implementing the government's strategy for a sustainable future.
calendar icon 15 December 2003
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The year ahead must turn that progress into real results, Food and Farming Minister Lord Whitty and Strategy Implementation Group chair Sir Don Curry said today.

Major milestones reached so far include:

  • radical reform of CAP agreed;
  • successful launch of pilots for new entry level agri-environment scheme to enable decisions on national roll-out in 2005;
  • establishment of the Food Chain Centre, English Food and Farming Partnership and the Red Meat Industry Forum - delivering real improvements in competitiveness and increasing collaboration within the food chain;
  • network of pilot demonstration farms up and running;
  • in Agricultural Development Scheme grants awarded;
  • Animal Health and Welfare Outline Strategy launched;
  • good progress on Assured Food Standards and the Red Tractor logo
  • whole farm appraisal pilot under way, helping to cut red tape;
  • regional delivery plans have been drawn up;
  • publication of the Haskins report on service delivery.

Lord Whitty said:

"The deal we secured on CAP reform was better than we could have hoped in paving the way for a sustainable future for the food and farming sector.

"We must build on this success during the coming year in terms of translating the agreement into a 'new start for farming' on 1 January 2005.

"I have been delighted by the enthusiasm with which the government's initiatives have been received - in particular, uptake for the pilot entry level scheme has exceeded expectations, the efforts of the new bodies working to revitalise the food chain, and the interest in farmers developing their businesses, by visiting demonstration farms and signing up for business advice.

"This enthusiasm, together with a further welcome boost to farm incomes in most sectors, gives me increased optimism for the sector's future."

Sir Don Curry said:

"Over the past year we have established the building blocks to help deliver the policy commission's vision.

"The coming year must turn the promise of CAP reform into reality. But we must not under-estimate the huge challenges that lie ahead for the farming and food industry in adapting to the substantial changes that will take place in 2005.

"The challenge is for the food and farming sector to operate commercially and profitably in a decoupled world while satisfying the expectations of the taxpayer."

Sir Don announced the food industry had donated about 3400,000 to assist English Food and Farming Partnership and Assured Food Standards in their work in helping to improve efficiency throughout in the food chain.

Sir Don said: "I am delighted with the financial support provided by the food industry for EFFP and AFS. Without this help these bodies would have struggled to get established."

Source: Defra - 15th December 2003

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