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Food Supply: Sustainable Development

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 16908, tabled on 13 June 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to promote greater food sustainability in the UK.

Answered on

23 June 2022

Farming in England is now going through the biggest change in a generation and government’s approach to working with the farming sector is also changing. We’re improving our policies and services to make them more effective, fairer, more flexible, more accessible and more workable for farmers.

We are introducing policies that work for farm businesses, food production and the environment. Food is still the primary purpose of farming, and always will be. The Food Strategy includes plans that will support farmers to boost home-grown fruit and vegetable production, and encourage people to buy more locally-sourced, high-welfare food. The Food Strategy identifies new opportunities to make the food system healthier, more sustainable, more resilient and more accessible for those across England. It sets out how we will deliver a sustainable, nature-positive food system that provides choice and access to high quality products that support healthier and sustainable diets for all. It launches the Food Data Transparency Partnership to improve sustainability data for the food system.

Farmers also play a crucial role in protecting and enhancing the natural environment. If we want farming and food production to be resilient and sustainable over the long term, then farming and nature can and must go hand in hand.

We are providing farmers with two ways of receiving payments: one-off grants and ongoing schemes. Farmers can pick and choose from a range of grants and ongoing payments to find a package that works for them.

Everything we’re offering contributes to our 3 related goals: supporting viable businesses, maintaining food production at its current level, and achieving environment, climate and animal health, welfare outcomes.

Over the next three years, we will spend £2.5 billion on payments to farmers through the new Sustainable Farming Incentive, Countryside Stewardship and its successor Local Nature Recovery, and continue to fund existing Environmental Stewardship agreements.