A NEW scheme aimed specifically at cereal growers to link them more closely with consumers is likely to be available next year, it emerged at Smithfield.

“There is a significant cereals based project in the pipeline, which should come to fruition next year,” said Jeremy Boxall of the Linking Environment and Farming initiative.

LEAF aims to raise awareness and encourage consumers to buy into their environmental values, added chief executive Caroline Drummond.

“There are good opportunities on the cereals side and there has been quite a lot of interest amongst millers and brewers in setting up a scheme,” she said.

“Unless we get people to understand what they are buying into, cheap food will perpetuate.”

In another show first LEAF launched its new online directory, listing details of all farms growing produce meeting its standards.

The LEAF Marque Buyers and Producers Directory aims to help farmers and buyers get in touch with each other directly. LEAF hopes it will help farmers access new markets, including farm shops, restaurants and other food outlets where people are concerned about where their food comes from.

Government adviser Donald Curry said the directory was a practical way for farmers to get in touch with new business and bridge the gap between farming and the consumer.

 “It supports our vision for the sustainable future of the farming and food industry, creating stronger relationships, developing marketing opportunities and cutting down on food miles,” he said.