In accordance with two key NFU asks and the recommendations of the TAC (Trade and Agriculture Commission) 2020-2021, the government announced in October and November 2021 respectively, that it would establish a Food and Drink Export Council to work in partnership with the industry to promote exports.
The council has now had its first meeting, with NFU Director of Trade and Business Strategy Nick von Westenholz representing farmers' interests.
What is the purpose of the council?
The aim of the council is to bring together industry experts and governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to promote exports from all parts of the UK.
This is a crucial step towards promoting farmers' interests overseas as the council can provide strategic oversight and co-ordination to help identify additional measures that will help deliver increased exports.
The NFU expects the council to have a very strong focus on the development and delivery of a long-term strategic plan to drive growth in agriculture, food and drink exports. The NFU has set out in our 30,30,30+ strategy ways in which we believe this can be achieved.
Who sits on the council?
The membership of the council is expected to be limited in size (approximately 20 persons) and comprise of:
- Defra and DIT (Department for International Trade representatives)
- Devolved administrations
- Representatives of industry bodies including the NFU
- A selection of small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) operators
The council will be co-chaired by DIT Minster for Exports, Andrew Bowie (MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) and an industry co-chair Ian Wright (formerly CEO of the FDF).
"I look forward to the government and farming industry working together to get more climate-friendly, British food on plates across the world."
NFU director of trade and business strategy Nick von Westenholz
Following the first meeting, NFU Director of Trade and Business Strategy Nick von Westenholz said: “The quality of British food is globally renowned, and the NFU has an ambition to increase British food exports by 30% by 2030.
“The NFU has campaigned for a Food and Drink Export Council to help achieve that ambition, and so we're delighted that its work starts today. I look forward to the government and farming industry working together to get more climate-friendly, British food on plates across the world.”
NFU lobbying on future exports – the story so far
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