FARMERS AND their representatives are being asked to comment on a new strategy for non-food crops and their uses.

The document, published by DEFRA, does not set targets for non-food crops and stresses that using farmed crops for industrial purposes is far from an end in itself.

It says that each crop use has to be assessed to check the impact on resource use, the environment, the economy and society.

But the document adds: “A significant expansion of non-food crops production in the UK, which in international terms is currently low, is both possible and desirable.”

The document says the government‘s long-term vision is that a significant proportion of demand for energy and raw materials should be met using crops grown in England.

But crops must be grown in a way that enhances biodiversity, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and waste and slows depletion of finite natural resources.

Copies of DEFRA‘s consultation paper can be found at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/nonfoodcrops/index.htm