Food and farming research should focus more on helping to balance environmental, social and economic issues in order to help consumers, farmers, food producers and countryside communities, UK government advisers have said.

The independent Sustainable Farming and Food Research Priorities Group (RPG) wants research funded by government and industry to concentrate more on issues such as climate change, environment-friendly land management, food safety, water and waste to support better-informed policy-making.

The RPG was set up to advise the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on how best to use publicly-funded and industry research to promote sustainable farming and food. Its report highlights several priorities, including food that encourages healthier diets, and better food safety and consumer information.

"Coordination between government departments, Research Councils and industry on science and research is vital. Together we must ensure that we have sound scientific evidence to inform and influence policies aimed at delivering real, sustainable benefits to people," said UK food and farming minister Larry Whitty.

"This report is a valuable contribution to our research plans. It highlights the need for more environmental and socio-economic research to underpin our efforts to secure a sustainable future for our farming and food industries and to create thriving rural communities. I expect to see many of the report's recommendations taken up," he added.

To view the report, click here.