The government is putting farming at heart of the economic recovery, DEFRA secretary Caroline Spelman says.
Speaking at the Cereals Event in Hertfordshire on Thursday (10 June), the minister said farmers were an “indispensable part” of the green economy and working with them to increase sustainability of food production was crucial.
She said research and development, managing the environment and increasing biodiversity through the Campaign for the Farmed Environment were still important for DEFRA, even in the face of budget cuts.
“With significant savings to find, DEFRA will have to cut back on things that aren’t a priority,” she said.
“Our commitment to the Campaign for the Farmed Environment remains.”
She said her department was just beginning discussions on how it would make the £162m budgets cuts enforced by DEFRA.
VIDEO: Caroline Spelman at Cereals 2010
“The country’s budget deficit is immense and DEFRA has to make its contribution in dealing with it.”
But despite the cuts she said agricultural research and development remained a priority.
“I believe in science-led evidence to shape policy and you can’t have that if you stifle the capacity of the scientific community,” she added.
“We need to allow them to find answers for the future.”
* For more from Cereals see our dedicated Cereals 2010 page.