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A vision for the future of farming

Tom Feilden | 10:54 UK time, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

A cow

When Professor John Beddington took over as the Government's new chief scientific advisor in 2008 he chose food security - rather than climate change or stem cell research - as the subject of his first public pronouncement.

The world, he warned, was facing a "perfect storm" of interrelated and escalating problems including population growth, climate change, resource depletion, and environmental degradation. Food security was the elephant in the corner.

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Well the Government's response - in the shape of a wide ranging report Food 2030 - is published today, and offers nothing short of a vision for farming that puts the consumers at the heart of a strategy to make Britain a food superpower. Speaking on the programme this morning the secretary of State for the Environment Hilary Benn said:

"We've got to produce more food, we've got to do it sustainably, and we've got to make sure that the food we eat safeguards our health".

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Stirring stuff, and behind the scenes Food 2030 is being talked-up as the kind of "big idea" to rival the post-war Labour Government's 1947 Agriculture Act - which ushered in a new era of intensive agriculture.

But the bottom line is that farmers are being asked to produce more, from less. More and better food to feed a growing population and tackle health concerns like obesity, but with fewer inputs and less use of precious resources like water and energy to ensure we don't wreck the environment or despoil the countryside in the process.

And how are they going to do that? Well, the report is a little thin on the detail, but the main thrust seems to involve getting more from the science, encouraging people to eat more healthily, cutting red tape and reducing waste.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Tom Feilden.

    "..farmers are being asked to produce more, from less."

    much, much less if the collapse of bee colonies around the globe continues; I read somewhere that 75%+ of all our food stuffs rely on pollination by bees.

    (well, there's always cannibalism, I suppose)

 

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