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Recognition Of Food Producers

14 January 2010
National Farmers Union

UK - The start of a new decade marks a new recognition of farmers as food producers and a vital part of the challenge of feeding a growing population, says National Farmers' Union (NFU) Deputy President Meurig Raymond.

Speaking at the Pershore Farming Heroes conference today (Thursday 14 January), Mr Raymond will say the publication of the Government’s Food 2030 report marks the next step in Government recognition of the importance of farmers and growers in the nation’s food security needs.

“Defra Ministers now accept that if we are to meet the twin challenges of climate change and increasing food production to feed a growing world population, we must have a competitive, resilient and profitable farming sector. We can and must produce more but impact less. But we can only do this with the support of Government.”

Mr Raymond will outline the importance of a properly functioning, well resourced near market research and development pipeline to maintain the competitiveness of the agriculture and horticulture industries. He will stress how R&D is also needed to provide new crop protection solutions to fill the gaps left as a result of new EU legislation.

He will say: “Our lobbying in Europe meant that the worst excesses of the EU legislation on pesticides were watered down. We must now act to ensure that by the time the legislation begins to bite our growers have access to new methods of pest and disease control that enable them to continue producing the quality crops that consumers have come to expect.”

Mr Raymond will also explain why businesses must have confidence that in the future they will be able to secure sufficient seasonal labour to plant and harvest crops.

“With the current SAWS arrangements timed to run out at the end of 2011, we must ensure that growers aren’t left in the dark about where they can secure their labour needs from. That means a new SAWS scheme as well as enabling and encouraging our domestic population to take up seasonal labour opportunities.”

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