England’s tenant farmers are demanding that the Government brings back a Minister of Agriculture with a seat in the cabinet as the world faces growing food shortages.
Association national chairman Greg Bliss used his New Year Message to TFA members to call for the re-establishment of a dedicated Cabinet post for agriculture and food.
“There is nothing more basic to our future sustainability as a nation as our ability to feed ourselves. Although the Government believes that as a rich nation we could, if needed import our way out of any future problems it is too high risk a strategy to rely upon imports of food as the way ahead,” said Mr Bliss.
“That is not to say that international trade is not important. Britain has always been a trading nation and such trade has added to the rich tapestry of our lives as well as providing us with important foreign currency earnings. International trade in food must continue to be an important part of our nation’s identity but we should not rely upon it for our food security.
“Sadly it would appear that DEFRA has largely forgotten the need to preserve a vibrant agricultural industry in Britain. Although we still hear the right things in DEFRA speeches, policy statements and announcements, its actions speak louder than words”.
“Despite the rhetoric that a Government Department which integrated responsibility for agriculture, the environment and rural affairs would be best placed to produce sustainable solutions which take into consideration the needs of everyone.
“DEFRA has allowed itself to be swayed by single issue environmental groups towards unsustainable policy choices and short term thinking. The DEFRA experiment has failed, it has already lost energy and climate change policy to another Department and it is time agriculture and food went the same way.”