Choos­ing Bri­tish food will boost the econ­omy

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

EAR­LIER this month, I met farm­ers who are mem­bers of the Na­tional Farm­ers’ Union in Buck­ing­hamshire. Agri­cul­ture is part of a global business th­ese days.

Com­modi­ties like wheat are traded in­ter­na­tion­ally and thus a drought in Aus­tralia or a bumper har­vest in Canada will af­fect the prices paid for ce­real crops grown in the Chilterns.

Agri­cul­ture is also a very highly reg­u­lated in­dus­try.

I know that many of my con­stituents want to see a high-wel­fare regime in place so that an­i­mals are cared for prop­erly at all stages of their lives.

There have to be strict rules about hy­giene to re­duce the risk of dis­ease. Only a few weeks ago, an out­break of bird ‘flu at a duck farm trig­gered dis­ease con­trols.

There are con­stant checks to en­sure the food we eat is safe and healthy for us.

It was in­evitable that one of the items on the agenda which I dis­cussed with lo­cal farm­ers would be re­form of the Common Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy.

The CAP is the EU-wide sys­tem of agri­cul­tural sub­si­dies and pro­grammes.

This cov­ers farm­ing, en­vi­ron­men­tal mea­sures and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment, as well as con­trol­ling EU agri­cul­tural mar­kets.

There has been ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion with farm­ers and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups, as changes come in, but of course in Par­lia­ment we will be keep­ing a close eye on what ef­fect th­ese changes have.

Over the cen­turies, farm­ing has made our coun­try­side what it is to­day.

We can some­times for­get that those green fields are man­aged, of­ten cre­at­ing the way the land­scape looks.

Farm­ers have al­ways been stew­ards of the land­scape, aware that they are re­spon­si­ble for hand­ing it on to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

With the chang­ing em­pha­sis on look­ing after the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, farm­ers are still play­ing their part.

When we go to the shops or mar­kets and buy Bri­tish pro­duce, we are help­ing to sus­tain the ru­ral econ­omy which is part of the whole UK econ­omy.

By choos­ing Bri­tish food, we can support high stan­dards for an­i­mal wel­fare and plant health, im­por­tant to a large num­ber of con­sumers.

Most of all, when we choose lo­cal pro­duce, it will be fresh and tasty, the in­gre­di­ents for many a fes­tive feast this month.

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