Call for integrated approach to farming in Agriculture Bill
Today (Wednesday 13 May) Parliament is being presented with an updated version of the Agriculture Bill, which will shape the UK's farming policy.
The Agriculture Bill is a huge opportunity to rebuild a resilient and sustainable food and farming system as we collectively recover from the COVID19 crisis. We believe it should be amended to set clear goals for healthy food security and resilient supply chains, at the same time as transitioning UK farming to net zero, nature-friendly systems.
Food production and tackling the climate and nature crises should not be opposing interests.
COVID19 has rightly refocused minds on the UK’s need to build resilient food supply chains that can feed people a healthy diet in times of crisis. That spotlight needs to fall most clearly on the UK’s over-reliance on fruit and veg imports.
Gareth Morgan, our Head of Farming & Land Use Policy advises what the UK needs for healthy food security and nature-friendly farming,
“We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Now is not the time to throw away the precious consensus, led by farming bodies and environmental NGOs, that UK farming can and must change to help reduce the impacts of the climate and nature emergencies. If we fail to act on reversing damage to climate, soils and wildlife, we are storing up further shocks for our food system.
“We therefore need a farmer-led, ten-year transition to nature friendly farming like agroecology to balance the priorities of climate, nature and healthy food production. We know from recent research that healthy food security and an effective response to the climate and nature emergencies can indeed go hand-in-hand.”
We can’t afford to sacrifice the environment for food security.
The UK government has a unique opportunity for leadership if it supports farmers to make this transition. There is too much at stake for climate, nature, health and resilience to throw this opportunity away.”
Back in February we gave oral evidence to the Agriculture Bill committee, welcoming the commitment to soil in the bill that was confirmed in January. This followed pressure from lobbying groups including, the Soil Association.
But we also called for the bill to be amended to include an integrated approach to farming, environmental recovery, healthy food production and the development of a thriving rural community.