July 7, 2008

World Food Security Comments Are Welcomed By CLA ; Farming

THE Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has welcomed comments made in the House of Commons by Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on global food security.

Despite opposing a House of Commons motion last week calling on British farmers to optimise food production, Mr Benn said: "One thing is beyond doubt, and that is that the world is going to need a lot of farmers and a lot of food over the next 50 years, and it is the job of every one of us to respond to that global challenge. The truth is that all our lives depend on us getting it right."

Angus Collingwood-Cameron, Director CLA North East said: "This statement sums up what we have been saying for years and should be a call to action for everyone in Government. It is gratifying to see the Secretary of State finally acknowledging the critical role that British farmers must play in contributing to the future of global food security, and I hope that this attitude is permeated throughout Defra and its associated agencies.

"It is no exaggeration for Mr Benn to say that farming and food production are vitally important now and in the coming decades. Just note the current affects of food inflation in the UK and civil unrest, caused by high food prices and food shortages, in parts of the world which are not blessed with an agricultural infrastructure such as ours. However, we must see greater recognition of that fact from Defra and greater consistency between what the Secretary of State says and what Defra does.

"Legislation must support food production not stifle it, as is often the case.

The future of our food producers is currently under threat from misplaced regulation emanating from the EU and our national Government, often favouring environmental considerations over food production. Just look at the proposed changes to Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, the draconian powers suggested for Water Protection Zones, the EU Pesticide Directive, sheep EID, proposals for cost sharing for animal health and disease, and inaction over TB in England. Food production needs to be given its rightful place at the policy table."

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