‘CONSUMERS SHOULD buy British-grown fruit and vegetables to help boost the economy’. That is the message from the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, who spoke at the Oxford Farming Conference this week.
Paterson went on to highlight the fact that 24% of food imported into the UK could have been produced on British farms, including cattle and poultry.
Overall Britain imports around 40% of its food, including products such as apples and tomatoes, which could be grown in this country.
Paterson went on to say there is a ‘huge opportunity’ for consumers to make a positive impact on the economy by buying home-grown produce: “As British farmers and food producers you know that we grow some of the best food in the world here.”
“We have a top-class fruit and veg sector which produces everything from green beans to strawberries, yet we imported £8billion of fruit and veg in 2012.
“This is a huge opportunity, and it’s up to all of us – farmers, food manufacturers and the Government – to take action.
“By buying seasonal fruit and veg we can improve the nation’s health, help the environment and boost the economy.”
Paterson also announced that there would be changes to livestock movement legislation which will save farmers and taxpayers £70million over 10 years, and that cuts to red tape will make it easier for farming businesses to flourish and improve the ability to prevent and control the spread of diseases such as bovine TB.