DEFRA’s discussions on the future of food are a “phoney debate”, according to the Country Land and Business Association.

Henry Aubrey Fletecher, CLA president, said policy papers on food security launched by DEFRA on Monday (10 August) added little to the debate on securing food supplies and came too late to offer anything new.

“The biggest deception is that, while talking sympathetically about the need for more UK-produced food, they hold fast to their core strategy which will do the opposite,” he said.

“The government knows that without the direct support payments of the Common Agricultural Policy, farm incomes, in real terms, were negative in seven of the last 11 years.”

Mr Aubrey-Fletcher said DEFRA policy had been to eliminate direct payments under the CAP between now and 2020, something that impact on the survival of farms, food security and the environment.

“We need to have an open and honest debate about the desirability of this,” he said.

“The CLA will continue to press its argument that the core policy for EU food and farming, the CAP, must further evolve to be a policy for Food and Environmental Security with the resources appropriate to the task.”