Its publication came at a pivotal moment, as the UK had left the European Union and its reprint coincides with the nation continuing to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and farmers battling with rising input costs. The prospectus, entitled Fertile Ground – An Agenda for Growth in the Regional Agri-Food Sector, is aimed at decision makers and stakeholders.
It explores growth through three themes, all of which are intrinsically linked to sustainability:
- Agri-food productivity and jobs
- A great place to live, work, eat and drink
- Clean growth in a net zero economy
The report calls for government and stakeholder support for jobs and growth in agriculture, to boost the regional economy as a whole. This means backing measures to boost farm productivity, ensuring farmers and growers have the skills and support systems to strengthen their position in the supply chain, encouraging greater public procurement of regional food and drink and working with the industry to help the nation shift to a carbon neutral economy.
NFU South East regional director William White says: “It’s in the national interest that the agricultural sector is strong and resilient, given all that farmers and growers produce and the assets that they manage. The farming and food sectors provide fertile ground on which to cultivate new jobs, harnessing technological innovations to promote growth, deliver services and boost export capacity. Our data shows that agriculture provides the raw material for the food sector which, before the pandemic, supported 1.1 million jobs in London and the South East. It is also key to the nation’s nutritional security.”
The manifesto also highlights how the nation’s wine sector has burgeoned by 400% since 2000. Reports suggest it will mirror this growth within the next 20 years, with 70% of new growth in the South East, creating more than 21,000 additional jobs. If these ambitions are realised by 2040, the region will see the same amount of land planted with vines as there is currently growing fruit.
To print a copy of our Agenda for Growth, follow this link Fertile Ground
See the accompanying report on which it is based by following this link MC Final Report July 2020