UK: Foresight Report a "game changer" - NFU
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has described the Foresight Report into Food and Farming as a "game changer" if the UK government decides to follow its recommendations.
Speaking at the Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum yesterday (8 March), NFU vice president Gwyn Jones said that if the UK government takes up the findings of the report it will mean it will have to look at "all policy through the food lens" and adopt a "less piecemeal approach to food production in the future".
He said the report would inform "reviews of red tape" and influence "what the Chancellor announces in budget for his growth plan".
Jones said following the report would have an effect on "how the Treasury manages taxation, whether immigration rules recognise the value of seasonal agricultural workers [and] how the research council target R&D funds". He also saw an impact on how the UK Border Agency polices food imports for disease and what policies the UK pushes for at EU level.
Meanwhile, Jones also said that diversification into renewable energy gives farmers the "greatest diversification opportunity for a generation" and if managed well, at a farm and policy level, could help, not hinder meeting the challenges set out in the Foresight Report.
He highlighted opportunities for farmers around anaerobic digestion and solar panels, emphasising his aims, that with the maintenance of funding into research, farmers will be able to deliver "both food and energy".
Jones called for the government to "let incentives flow to where they will have the most impact", and questioned its "apparent U-turn on farm-scale solar panel installations".
"If I can still graze sheep on grass under a solar array, or wild that land for biodiversity, which is another Foresight challenge, I can't see why government is not falling over itself to promote that," said Jones.
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