Market gardeners and fruit growers have joined with Defra advisers to set up a task force to see how Britain can produce more and better fruit and veg at a time when world food shortages are growing.
Defra asked members of the industry to come up with ideas on how to boost production and, just as important, how to persuade more people, particularly children, to eat more on the “five-a-day” system which helps cut obesity and associated diseases.
This resulted in the setting up of a task force to tackle the issues involved and that reported yesterday (August 26)
Said Food Minister Jim Paice:”We produce some of the best fresh food that you can buy, right here in England. We can’t grow all the fruit and vegetables people want to eat, but increasing consumption and increasing home production is not just good for people’s health, it will develop the market opportunities and the confidence of our growers.
“It’s a Government priority to support and develop British farming and encourage sustainable food production, and I am grateful for the experience and insight of the task force in producing this report.”
The task force was asked to put forward practical proposals for action. Their response focuses on:
- Removing regulation;
- Sustaining R&D capability;
- Improving skills and attracting new entrants in to the industry;
- Encouraging collaboration;
- Improving supply chain relationships;
- Expanding market opportunities;
- Improving existing Government behaviour change campaigns;
- Encouraging industry promotions;
- Aligning VAT with the 5 A Day objective;
- Supporting Grow Your Own.