26 October 2001

Commission receives 1200 submissions

THE governments commission on the future of food and farming has received almost 1200 submissions to a consultation paper released late last month.

The closing date for submissions is today (Oct 26). Staff will now start sifting through the evidence to prepare a final report due by the end of the year. A commission spokesman said the response to its appeal for evidence demonstrated a "very real interest" right across the food chain.

The NFU and Country Land and Business Association were finalising their submissions as farmers weekly went to press on Wednesday. But evidence from some other pressure groups has called on the commission to adopt a radical approach to food and farming.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England wants sustainable local foods to be a central element of the recovery. Gregor Hutcheon, CPRE acting head of policy, said: "They offer farmers and other rural businesses a significant market opportunity and the chance to earn a more realistic price for their produce."

Putting across the views of the retail sector, the British Retail Consortium said creating a customer-driven supply chain was essential. "Market signals must flow to the primary producers without the distortions created by the CAP, too many middlemen or other factors." &#42