7 June 2002

Whitty hint on collaboration

JUNIOR DEFRA minister Lord Whitty has indicated that the government may come up with funds to support the collaborative movement as part of its strategy for the future of farming.

Speaking after the last of eight regional meetings with rural stakeholders last Thursday (May 30), Lord Whitty said more specific support for increased collaboration could be included in the governments final strategy for agriculture.

This would be published in October or November and could also include increased details of a broad and shallow agri-environmental scheme as proposed in the Curry Report, he said.

The regional meetings had been held to encourage stakeholders to discuss the way forward for the industry, Lord Whitty told farmers weekly. "It has been bringing together farmers, the food chain, environmentalists and the public authorities to engage them in the Curry Report process."

And now they had been completed the next big step in government terms was completing the spending review.

Lord Whitty said he could offer no odds on whether the money would be forthcoming from the Treasury. But he said: "I think weve got a pretty good case. I think the Treasury recognises the current economics of the industry are not sustainable." &#42

The minister said the resulting strategy paper would be based around the vision set out by the policy commission report on the future of farming published in January. "I think the broad strategy of the Curry Report will be there in balance," he said.