SIXTY FARMERS and food businesses from across the south west met this week to discuss the future of the industry.
The meeting, organised by DEFRA, is the first of three events to help the government develop its new industry-wide 25-year plan to grow, buy and sell more British food.
Views are being sought across England, with events in Manchester (24th September), Peterborough (29th September) as well as today’s in Bristol.
Eighty industry representatives also met in July to discuss a number of new initiatives, including the development of a British brand, boosting food and drink exports and how to attract more investment.
Prime Minister David Cameron said at the time: “As a one nation government, we will keep on backing British farmers to grow and sell more home-grown food by liberating them from red tape and opening up new multi-million pound export markets.”
Earlier this month, as the milk price crisis intensified, DEFRA announced new support measures for the country’s farmers – both at home and abroad. In November, the environment secretary Liz Truss will lead a trade delegation of British dairy businesses to China.
Next month’s Political Print column considers these “hastily cobbled together policy initiatives” and exposes how they could be creating tension at the heart of the UK government’s food policy.