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Miliband outlines future of farming

by 5m Editor
4 July 2006, at 12:00am

UK - Farming must leave a lighter footprint on the planet as it restructures for the next decade and beyond, Environment Secretary David Miliband said yesterday.

Miliband outlines future of farming - UK - Farming must leave a lighter footprint on the planet as it restructures for the next decade and beyond, Environment Secretary David Miliband said yesterday.

Speaking at the Royal Show, Mr Miliband said a one planet philosophy must be at the heart of a new partnership between farming and Government. “We are living as if we had three planet's worth of resources to live with rather than just one,” he said. “We need to cut by about two thirds our ecological footprint.

“For that we need one planet farming as well as one planet living – one planet farming which minimises the impact on the environment of food production and consumption, and farming which maximises its contribution to renewal of the natural environment.” Mr Miliband said a shared agenda for farming would not only tackle some of the world's biggest environmental challenges but also deliver prosperity in this country.

“I detect that many farmers feel undervalued and unappreciated.” He talked of how, together, it was possible to help farming to regain its rightful place as a success story that the British public is proud of.

He outlined four guiding principles for the new partnership:

  • A long term view over the next 10 or more years in which the Government will provide a clear framework of funding and policy in return for clear commitments to change from the farming industry.

  • Investment linked to reform. A sensible financial deal shared by Government and farmers.

  • More streamlined regulation which is effective, transparent, proportionate and cost-effective

  • System-wide change, especially in the key areas of the food chain and animal health and welfare. The farming industry should share more of the responsibility and costs of controlling animal disease in exchange for a bigger say in how the risks of disease are controlled.

These principles need to build on the solid foundation provided by the Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food to help to achieve shared goals for farming, he explained. This would create a profitable, innovative and competitive industry which helps build sustainable rural communities. While at the same time making a positive net contribution to the environment and managing risks, especially of animal disease.

Mr Miliband hoped his speech would be the starting point for a debate about the way forward for a shared agenda. Farmers wishing to express their views on this subject are invited to post comments and questions to Mr Miliband at the link below. The Secretary of State will respond to these comments online from 12.15pm to 1pm on Thursday (July 6th).

Source: Defra - 4th July 2006

5m Editor