Defra publishes five year plan

Farmers will be pleased. Defra has published its plan for 2015-2020 this week and most of the aspirations could have been written by the NFU.

Top of the pile is the 25-year food and farming strategy, of course, but there is also mention of the government’s commitment to genetically modified crops and the importance of pesticides.

There is also plenty of focus on flood protection, but no mention of either waste or sustainable diets.

The last entry in the food section is worthy of note: a guarantee that all central government departments purchase food to British standards of production.

Earlier in the week environment secretary Liz Truss had highlighted how the public sector will be buying an extra £400 million of British food every year that used to be sourced overseas.

From April, for example, all 30 million cartons of UHT milk served annually to prisoners will be British rather than from overseas “for the first time in years, thanks to the supplier, Bidvest, using the balanced scorecard”.

The scorecard was published in July 2014 to replace the government buying standards for catering and food. However, it isn’t yet clear how much of Whitehall or the wider public sector has embraced the voluntary standards.

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