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Government is overlooking the importance of agriculture warns Farron

February 16, 2010 12:00 AM

In the month that the UK finally emerged from recession, South Lakeland MP has accused the Government of overlooking one of Cumbria's most important industries - agriculture.

Speaking last week to local business leaders at the Cumbria CBI gathering at Lakeside, Mr Farron challenged the Government to see farming as integral to the UK's economic recovery by providing more support to British farmers.

With the global population set to increase by 50% in the next 40 years and with demand for food set to double over the same period, Mr Farron is calling on the Government to use the spending power of government to invest in buying food that is local where possible and that is fairly sourced.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"Once you take into account the fact that by 2030 we will require double the amount of food we are producing today; and that we expect the global population to increase by at least half by 2050, it becomes clear that that the traditional free-market approach being offered up won't be up to the task ahead.

"The Government has the power to boost sustainable food sourcing in the UK but also to provide Cumbrian farmers with the support they need to produce more food to meet rising demand.

"The Government should be encouraging organisations within the public sector to source their food from British sources; not only would this reduce food miles and carbon footprints but it would also stimulate many local economies in these difficult economic times.

"Even more importantly, we must regulate the food market to prevent supermarkets treating farmers so unfairly that they go out of business. Food production could and should be a boom industry especially here in Cumbria, but government failure to take a lead and to bring the supermarkets to book is leading to more people leaving the farming industry than ever before."