AS THE ELECTION battle begins, Environment Secretary Liz Truss delivered the opening speech at the Oxford Farmers Conference, outlining her goal for the UK farming industry to become a ‘high-tech powerhouse’ that would help to drive the British economy.
Speaking at the flagship agricultural event, Truss highlighted the many successes for Britain includes a booming wine trade which is estimated to exceed £100m in sales – news likely to be welcomed by both the farming and business world in the run up to May.
Truss commented: “Exports of English and Welsh wine are on course to break the £100m barrier this year, two thirds of it sparkling as our confident producers take the Australians, French and Italians on at what was their own game.”
In a further dig at the French Truss claimed that France was ‘concerned’ by Britain’s farming prowess: “France is worried that Anglo-Saxon food could be threatening its own culinary status and is planning a worldwide food campaign of its own. The French have even complained about a supposed Anglo-Saxon food conspiracy,” she said.
“They are absolutely right to be worried. I am confident we can take on all comers.
“The countryside is an entrepreneurial seedbed, with a higher rate of business creation than urban areas outside London. New food companies are at the heart of that.
“This government will not let farming be ignored again.
“Food and farming is a core part of our long-term economic plan and it is at the heart of this government’s agenda for Britain’s economic future.”
Truss finished up with a vision for a ‘revolution’ in UK farming, as technology improves crops and producers become increasingly proficient in using new methods.