Johnson vows to ‘stand with farmers’ in food strategy criticized by critics


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The new food strategy for England “will support farmers”, Boris Johnson promised, after critics described a leaked draft of the document as “half-hearted”.

The ministers aim to strengthen the resilience of the nation’s supply chains and increase domestic production, so that we “grow and eat more of our own food”, to help protect against future crises and economic shocks.

The strategy, released Monday, responds to a major overhaul of the country’s food system by Leon restaurant co-founder Henry Dimbleby.

The Prime Minister said it sets out how the Government will support farmers, boost British industry and safeguard food security.

But ministers have been accused of concocting a plan “bordering on the absurd”, apparently avoiding the key recommendations of Mr Dimbleby’s review.

A leaked draft of the strategy, published by The Guardian on Friday, caused a stir when it appeared to reveal that calls to reformulate the sugar and salt tax had been ignored, along with the suggestion that the budget for farmers’ payments should guaranteed until 2029. .

Activists also criticized elements of the plan that they felt “encouraged” farmers to produce more meat.

By harnessing new technology and innovation, we will grow and eat more of our own food, creating jobs across the country and growing the economy, which in turn will help reduce price pressure.

The National Farmers’ Union said ministers had “stripped to the bone” the proposals in the Dimbleby review, while Labor said the document was “nothing more than a vague statement of intent”.

Launching the strategy on Monday, the government said it had accepted “most of the recommendations” in the report, with policy initiatives to boost healthy, sustainable and accessible diets, and to secure food supplies.

A clear priority for ministers is to bridge the gap between farm and fork, with a vision that 50% of public sector food spending goes to food produced locally or certified to higher standards.

The strategy also sets out plans to create a new professional body for agriculture and the growing industry, to boost training and develop clear career paths, equipping people and businesses with the skills needed to run sustainable and profitable businesses.

Johnson said: “Our food strategy sets out a blueprint for how we will support farmers, boost British industry and help protect people against the impacts of future economic crises by safeguarding our food security.

“By harnessing new technology and innovation, we will grow and eat more of our own food, creating jobs across the country and growing the economy, which in turn will ultimately help reduce price pressure.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “The food industry is larger than the automotive and aerospace industries combined and offers opportunities for employment, learning and investment in research and development.

The strategy we are introducing today will increase the focus on food industry skills and available roles and career paths.

“The strategy we are establishing today will increase the focus on skills in the food sector and the roles and career paths available. In particular, we will look to boost our horticultural industry and secure the expertise needed to develop the sector here in the UK.”

The plan confirms a number of elements of the leaked draft, including the intention to launch an independent review to address labor shortages in the food supply chain and to consult on how to improve and expand animal welfare labelling.

The government will also explore how to make the most of feed additives that can reduce methane emissions from livestock, publish a framework for land use in England next year and consult on food waste reporting for larger companies of a certain size.

Jim McMahon, Labor Shadow Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, accused the government of not offering “much more than a new slogan”.

This is not a strategy, this is a weak to-do list, which may or may not be checked off.

“The government itself says that the food industry is bigger than the automotive and aerospace industries combined, but all they have done is re-advertise existing funding,” he said.

“This is nothing more than a vague statement of intent, not a concrete proposal to address the major problems facing our country. Calling it a food strategy borders on the absurd.

“Once again, this tired and clueless Conservative government is failing to show the ambition our country needs.”

Kath Dalmeny, chief executive of agriculture group Sustain, said: “In the face of multiple cost-of-living crises, skyrocketing obesity, climate change and nature loss, the government’s food strategy looks embarrassingly weak.

Despite its name, the entire document lacks a strategy for transitioning the food system towards delivering good food that is accessible to all.

“The government received a clear analysis and set of recommendations from the Dimbleby food strategy, and has chosen to pursue just a handful of them.

“This is not a strategy, this is a weak to-do list, which may or may not be checked off.”

The Food Foundation called the document “disappointing” and said it “misses the mark” as many of its commitments “will never be without new legislation to enforce them.”

The charity’s chief executive, Anna Taylor, said: “Despite its name, the entire document lacks a strategy for transitioning the food system towards delivering good food that is accessible to all.

“And without a commitment to a new food bill, many of the commendable commitments made are actually worthless.

“It is a weak interpretation of Henry Dimbleby’s recommendations, which will not be enough to drive the long-term change that we know is so urgently needed.”



Reference-www.standard.co.uk

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