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Agriculture: Subsidies

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 157559, tabled on 22 April 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of postponing the phase out of direct payments to farmers until 2024 in the context of the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global food production.

Answered on

28 April 2022

We are not going to change the profile of Direct Payments reductions.

Area based subsidy gave half the farming budget to 10% of landowners. The Basic Payment Scheme did not support food production and did nothing to stop the decline in nature. We must seize the opportunity to establish a different system of rewards and incentives in agriculture. I am pleased that we are supporting farmers with the choices that they make for their own holdings.

Defra has been engaging with industry via various forums to understand significant impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on individual industries and supply chains in Defra's sectors. No impacts have been reported that will severely disrupt entire markets.

Last month we announced steps to assist farmers with the availability of fertilisers for the coming growing season, to help address uncertainty amongst growers and help keep costs down for farmers.

The planned changes to the use of urea fertiliser will be delayed by at least a year, helping farmers manage costs and giving them more time to adapt to pressures on the supply of ammonium nitrate fertilisers. We are also encouraging farmers to make use of organic fertilisers. Farmers will be further supported by new slurry storage grants introduced this year.

Alongside this, we have published further details of the early rollout of Sustainable Farming Incentive. The scheme will help farmers move towards more sustainable farming practices over time; supporting farmers to build the health and fertility of their soil, and to reduce soil erosion which are essential for food production, helping to bolster food security and the longer-term resilience of the sector.

Defra will continue to keep the situation under review going forward.