Blog: Dean BestUK food industry, government meet to "drive growth"

Dean Best | 16 July 2015

The UK government has hosted a meeting today (16 July) with 80 representatives from the country's food and farming sector, with an eye on developing a 25-year plan to, in part, increase the industry's international competitiveness.

Eighty industry representatives met at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to discuss how to grow the sector.

Defra said discussions would form part of moves to develop a plan that would focus on seven areas, taking in domestic and international markets.

UK food exports are growing. Sales were up 2.6% in 2014 at GBP12.8bn, with dairy exports at a "record high".

However, the country is facing stiff competition, not least in dairy in the wake of the end of EU quotas on dairy production in March.

One major rival is Ireland and it is showing no signs of its international ambitions easing. Two weeks ago, the Irish government announced a target of an 85% jump in the value of its agri-food exports by 2025 to EUR19bn.

Liz Truss, the UK Environment Secretary, said: "We are hugely ambitious for the future of food and farming and its potential to drive growth - that’s why we are bringing together industry to set out a vision for the future with a long-term plan to grow more, buy more and sell more British food."

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