A new report issued by the UK’s Department for Enviroment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) outlines how the UK government intends to address future food security. According to the Guardian, the ‘Food 2030’ report takes the most comprehensive approach to agriculture policy since the Second World War.
The UK food industry is worth £80 billion and employs 3.6 million people. Driven by the triple threat of a growing population, the threat of climate change and a vulnerable supply of natural resources, the new policy by Defra outlines what the UK government perceives to be priority actions for the future, including:
- increasing the amount of food grown in Britain
- reducing the impact of agriculture upon the environment
- reducing agricultural emissions by the equivalent of 3 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020
- reviewing the impacts of UK consumption on agricultural economies in the rest of the world
- addressing the issue of waste through reuse, recycling or energy generation
- informing consumers about healthy, sustainable food choices.
The policy also spells out plans to double its investment in agricultural research to £80 million by 2013, with a focus on helping farmers in developing nations. Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State of Defra, said:
By turning research into practical ideas, and by learning from what the best are doing, we can achieve a lot more. Science will also tell us when nature is under strain.
‘Food 2030’ seeks to improve the UK food industry from production to distribution, providing better resources to farmers, whilst using natural resources sustainably to help the global food industry. Benn said:
We need to increase food production to feed a growing world population – there’ll be another 2-3 billion people in 40 years.
The Financial Times reports that plans detailing how these changes will be effectuated, including any necessary new legislation, will be released in the coming months.