UK ‘will lead way on sustainable intensification’

FARMING Minister Jim Paice has pledged that the UK will lead the way in promoting the sustainable intensification model of food production.

Mr Paice revealed that he has established a ‘Green Farm Project’, bringing together industry, environmental and consumer organisations to drive forward the findings of the Government-commissioned Foresight report.

The Foresight report, published earlier this year, championed the concept of sustainable intensification.

Mr Paice told the CropWorld 2011 conference the Defra project will look at putting the theory into practice by:

  • Improving growth and competitiveness in the farming and food industry.
  • Increasing domestic food production and addressing the role the UK can play in global food security.
  • Improving farming’s environmental performance.

Mr Paice said the project would look address the food security and environmental challenges over a 30-50 year time frame, but would also be practical, proposing ‘clear steps’ for the next few years.

“The sustainable intensification of food production must be approached through a variety of initiatives,” he said.

This includes supporting applied research and ‘investment in a wide range of new technologies’, tackling food waste and working to boost UK exports, partly through ‘ensuring we have an open and sustainable world trading system’ he said.

Even though the UK only accounts for 8 per cent of EU cereals production and 1 per cent of global production, Mr Paice insisted the UK could play a leadership role in addressing global food security. He insisted ‘no country could opt out of the challenge’.

“We are trying to lead. It is my hope that through working together to tackle the global challenges facing our food industry we will help to ensure the UK leads the way on sustainable intensification of agriculture,” Mr Paice said.

Readers' comments (4)

  • We haven't managed to deal with GM issues. We have lost most of our Exp. Husb. Farms and have yet to deal with TB and look like being stuck in a CAP reform quagmire.

    Sounds good but what exactly are we measuring the Green Farm Project by?

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  • If we want to create a "Green Farm Project" is it not about time we re-established a consistent crop rotation to replenish our soils.
    The solution is basic except the market is forcing us to take shortcuts because we are concentrating on the margin without counting the hidden cost, at our peril. We perceive that GM technology is the golden bullet except it will only give us superweeds, insects that will become superbugs, take a look at www.gmcropsfarmertofarmer.com

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  • May I suggest that those who think there is such a thing as sustainable intensification read what notable scientist Prof Don Huber says about glyphosate. Better still go and listen to him speak - as I did this week when he addressed the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agrcoecology
    http://bit.ly/h3udQj

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  • The Peasant
    The 3 contributors above understand the problem much better than Jim Paice does. Words are cheap and that is all we can expect from a ‘Green Farm Project’,

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