The next government must take British food production “extremely seriously”, the NFU has warned.
The union has set out 10 demands for the next Parliament, whichever party takes power in May’s general election.
On day two of the NFU conference, Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and Ukip will debate food and farming in a discussion chaired by BBC journalist John Humphrys.
The NFU’s 10 demands are:
- A UK government championing farming in EU policy making, including a review of “greening” under the CAP
- An agri-food strategy to grow UK food production over the next Parliament
- Robust scientific evidence to give farmers access to a wide range of plant protection products
- Implementation of all elements of the 25-year TB eradication strategy
- The grocery code adjudicator’s role to be extended to all links in the supply chain, down to indirect suppliers like farmers
- Tax incentives that help farm businesses manage volatility and invest in capital
- More spending on UK-relevant agri-science, including development and approval of biotechnology tools through to commercialisation
- Faster roll-out of high-speed broadband to all rural areas
- Accurate food and farming information supplied to schools and colleges
- Planning rules that let farmers and farm businesses compete and grow
NFU president Meurig Raymond said he wanted to know how any future government would back British farmers.
“I am not asking what farming wants, I’m arguing for what the country needs,” he said.
“Simply, voters expect a British government to back its own farmers and producers.”