UK Farmers, Food Industry Urged to 'Step Up' to Address Global Competitiveness

UK - Farmers, growers and the food industry need to “step up” to address the challenge of agricultural competitiveness and productivity in a rapidly-changing world.
calendar icon 5 January 2017
clock icon 2 minute read


That was the rallying cry from Jane King, chief executive of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, (AHDB) in a high-profile fringe meeting on the eve of the Oxford Farming Conference.

She outlined the changes that have happened at AHDB, some of which were informed by last year’s activity review, highlighted the refocusing of work in the new strategy and showcased some of the work coming in 2017.

And she called on the industry to get behind the efforts and work more closely to allow the industry to increase productivity and competitiveness as we move toward a post-EU landscape.

Ms King said: “Our new strategy is about inspiring success in a rapidly changing world. The importance of AHDB’s work is greater now than ever. This is why we have changed the way we work and brought out our new strategy that puts competitiveness and productivity squarely at the heart of what we do.
“I am challenging the industry now to work more closely with us. This is not only because we can achieve so much more by working together, but also because it’s essential to addressing the challenge of weak productivity growth. We need to join up more to deliver world-class innovation, skills and knowledge exchange."

Focusing on tools for farmers, Jane highlighted Farmbench, which will be going live this month. For the first time, this is a whole farm approach to recording and benchmarking rather than being related to a specific enterprise on the farm. It lists and records things day to day, helping farmers and growers capture data, allowing them to monitor costs of production and benchmark performance as a business.

“This is the start of a big focus on trying to get farmers and growers more motivated about recording costs and record keeping,” she said.

“We need to develop a greater culture of business in farming.”

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