Sustainable FarmingMarch 3rd, 2015
I have received a lot of emails on sustainable farming. My response is below:
I grew up in the countryside – in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire villages – and attended rural schools at both primary and secondary level. As an adult, I also spent some years living in rural Staffordshire and Cumbria – so I fully understand the issues facing our rural communities. In recent years, I have been active in the recently-formed Labour Coast and Country campaign group that seeks to raise the profile of rural issues within the Labour Party.
The Labour Party believes that there are huge challenges facing the food and farming industry. It is clear that we need to produce more food without damaging the natural resources that we all depend on whilst promoting the highest possible animal welfare standards.
British food and farming is our largest manufacturing sector, employing over 3.5 million people. That is why the Labour Party is committed to delivering a long-term vision for a sustainable and secure food system. The next Labour Government will ensure that Britain becomes a world leader in food policy and production to ensure that everybody has the chance to eat safe, healthy, affordable and sustainable food, now and in the future.
To achieve this we will reinstate the Food 2030 strategy to coordinate food policy, so that everyone across the food system has a clear role to play.
We will champion consumer choice, to better inform consumers about the food they eat, empowering them make informed choices.
We will work with food producers, farmers and fishermen to help meet the global food demand and participate in international food markets but at the same time protecting and enhancing our natural resources.
The Labour Party believes there should be no arbitrary trade-off between food production and wider issues of sustainability, or between food affordability and the natural environment. Those who argue that you can either have affordable and plentiful food, or you can protect the soil, the water and biodiversity, are simply wrong to set out such a binary choice.
That’s why the Labour Party believes we must continue to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and work towards the delivery of multiple objectives. To do this the Labour Party will make better use of CAP money going towards protecting the natural environment whilst at the same time supporting farmers. This is clear commitment from the Labour Party to make sure that the Common Agricultural Policy does far more to protect nature, support a vibrant rural economy and gets the best value for money.
We will also continue to maintain the highest possible standards of animal welfare because our Labour values tell us that we have a moral duty to treat the animals we share our planet with in a humane and compassionate way. No other major political party has such a proven track record of decisive action for animals at home, on farms and in the wild.
Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your important views about sustainable food and farming.