DEFRA’s name would be changed under a Conservative government to reflect the importance of agriculture in Britain, the Tories have said.
Speaking at an NFU fringe event at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, shadow DEFRA minister Nick Herbert said the department’s name should incorporate the word “farming” to recognise farmers cannot be taken for granted.
“I want to put the ‘F’ back into DEFRA,” he told a packed room of farmers and party delegates.
“The word farming should be included in the name of the department to reflect the importance of food and agriculture in this country.”
Mr Herbert said farming and the amount of food produced in Britain had been neglected by the current government for too long.
“We are never going to reach self-sufficiency and it’s not necessarily a desirable thing, but is wrong we have allowed the pendulum to swing away from British production,” he said.
“There was a formal view in government that it didn’t matter where food came from as long as it was sourced as cheaply as possible.
“Within Britain we should increase production. We won’t solve the world’s food troubles unilaterally, but we are a part of it.”
Mr Herbert said the “time for farming had come again” as people realised the importance of farmers’ role in securing food supplies and protecting the environment.
“If we devalue British farming then we devalue Britain,” he added.