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MP praises farming contribution to the economy

March 3, 2014 4:03 PM

Local MP Tim Farron with NFU President Peter Kendall. Peter recently called Tim a true ally of farming. (National Farmers Union)South Lakes MP Tim Farron has said that the agriculture sector 'is an economic success story and has bucked the trend in recent years'.

A new NFU report, published on the first day of the recent NFU annual conference, called, 'Backing the Business of British Farming' demonstrates how UK agriculture has proved remarkably resilient as an industry and highlights some of the many success stories in the food and farming sectors.

The report reveals that:

  • UK agriculture's contribution to the economy increased by a staggering 54 per cent between 2007 and 2012.
  • Agriculture contributed an additional £8.6bn more to the UK economy between 2008 and 2012 than it did in the 2003-2007 five-year period in GVA terms.
  • Food and drink is now the UK's fourth largest exporting sector - exports in the first half of 2013 grew by 2.5 per cent to £6.12bn compared to £5.97bn in the first half of 2012.

The report calls on Government to put agriculture at its heart and set its economic policies through the food security lens. The report is backed up by a new consumer survey that shows 88 per cent of people believe it is important that the Government should have a strategy to ensure a secure and affordable supply of British produce.

Tim said: "This report highlights the often forgotten, but key role that farmers and the wider agricultural sector play in the economy. I try to praise their contributions regularly and fight for farmers in Parliament at every opportunity. But farmers need the Government to play their part too. As the NFU highlight, we need a robust food security strategy.

"If we are to improve our food security we must insist on free, but also fair, trade. A two-fold strategy to encourage British farmers and improve consumer awareness will move us towards a more secure, sustainable and environmentally safe food supply."