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OF&G says Defra insight is welcome but needs clarity

Date Published: 27/02/2018



The launch of Defra’s consultation on the future of food and farming is a welcome insight into the government’s ambitions for UK agriculture, but requires significant clarity on how those goals will be achieved, says OF&G.

Roger Kerr, OF&G chief executive, said: “After a number of high level speeches by Defra Secretary Michael Gove, it’s good to finally see some proposals on paper.

“However while the list of plans may be long, what we are really lacking detail on is exactly how those plans will be delivered, and how they will be paid for.

“Mr Gove has indicated that direct support will be cut for the largest land-owners to help pay farmers for the provision of public goods and services.

“He also mentions proposals to develop a new environmental land management scheme to encourage producers to farm in more environmentally sensitive ways – ways in which organic farmers already farm.

“What we really need is clarity, and we need it as a matter of urgency so that farmers across the country can begin to make proper plans around how they are to farm in future.”

Even without Brexit, the food supply chain is under a lot of pressure, Mr Kerr said, making it paramount that the government addresses issues around market failure, productivity and protecting the environment more closely.

“In particular, we want to see greater clarity around how those farmers who supply public goods are recompensed,” he added.

“As we point out in our policy paper, An organic systems approach to the provision of public goods, producers who are supplying those public goods need to be properly recognised and supported.

“With organic farming’s systematic, regenerative approach to food production meeting so many of the criteria, it’s only right that organic producers are properly rewarded for the benefits they offer — rather than bearing the costs as they have so far had to.”

Mr Kerr said OF&G is talking to Defra to seek better recognition for UK food producers all the way through supply and delivery networks.
OF&G will also be contributing to the consultation, and welcomes any comments from licensees and interested parties ahead of the deadline.

Consultation paper