News preview 2010: Industry leaders look ahead

Richard Jacobs

Chief executive

Organic Farmers & Growers

There are, as ever, a number of issues on the horizon in 2010, but probably the two most significant are the introduction of a compulsory EU organic logo and an impending UK-wide promotional campaign for organic food and farming.

It will be the first time a logo, as opposed to just a control body identifier, will be required on packaging, from July, and there will be logistical challenges with regard to introducing it and gaining consumer recognition.

There is a grace period up to 2012 for existing packaging stock though.

The sector-wide Organic UK bid for EU match funding to promote organic food has come together very well in 2009 and we’re hopeful it will succeed and we will start to see the messages in 2010 and perhaps a fillip for organic producers as a result.

All-in-all we are positive for the New Year.

Jim McLaren 
Jim McLaren

Jim McLaren

President

NFU Scotland

Clearly Single Farm Payment reform is at the top of the agenda and it’s a priority for us to meet the new agriculture commissioner as soon as possible to gain a clearer understanding of the latest thinking in Europe. The general election will also be important and we could end up working with a very differently focused DEFRA by the middle of the year.

Closer to home the Scottish government is driving the climate change agenda and leading the way globally on greenhouse gas emissions. We’re involved in taking targets forward and showing that agriculture is part of the solution. Other sectors haven’t even left the station yet while farming is a long way down the road.

We are also focusing on the future of our own organisation and aiming to grow the membership for a fourth year. The number of people actively farming may be falling but there’s still a sizeable number who’re not members of the union, and we want them on board at this crucial time.

Julian Hunt 
Julian Hunt

Julian Hunt

Director of communications

Food and Drink Federation

The debate about the environmental impact of food production is certain to intensify throughout 2010.

Politicians agree the UK must become a low-carbon economy and must change quickly, even as the country emerges from recession.

This poses huge challenges for everyone in the food chain but must be particularly worrying for farmers who have already experienced first-hand the dangers of having politicians and policy makers dumbing-down complex issues. Simple soundbites urging consumers to “eat less meat to save the planet” do none of us any favours. But such debates will intensify in 2010 and one of the key themes will be to define what a “healthy, low environmental impact” diet should look like.

It’s important we don’t stick our heads in the sand. Farmers, processors and retailers will need to define the positive role they’ll play in what remains a very uncertain, low-carbon future.

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