Britain’s agriculture policy needs to change, in order to ensure a more productive future for British fruit and vegetable producers. That was the message from the Fruit and Vegetable Alliance when it met with Defra minister for farming, George Eustice, to look at ways to develop domestic fruit and vegetable production.
The Fruit and Vegetable Alliance was established earlier this year, with the goal to bring together small and large-scale producers from the horticulture industry and public health organisations who seek to inform and influence Defra policy development to increase support for horticulture in future agricultural policy.
Representatives included the British Growers Association, the NFU, the Soil Association, the Landworkers’ Alliance and the Food Foundation, whose core aim is to increase the consumption and production of fruit and vegetables in the UK to meet government guidelines of eating seven portions per day, as well as increasing resilience in a food sector that currently relies on imports to meet more than half of fruit and vegetable demand.
Jack Ward, co-chair of the group from British Growers Association: “The coming together of the industry, charity and Government bodies signals a positive new approach to domestic fruit and vegetable production. By focusing on working together to increase support to the UK fresh produce industry, we can help to ensure that horticulture gets the recognition and support it deserves.”
Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, added: “We all need to eat more fruit and veg to optimise our health and prevent disease, and for that we need a thriving horticulture sector which stimulates consumer demand. Government policy has a critical role to play in ensuring a productive future for British fruit and veg growers and we hope this new engagement with Defra will help secure that future, in the interests of the nation’s health.”