Defra 25 Yr Strategy

by jack Ward

Defra 25 Yr strategy
Does the idea of another strategy have you running for cover? Another glossy document with lots of words and some pretty pictures gathering dust on a shelf somewhere and long since overtaken by events.
Part of the Conservative manifesto published prior to the last election contained a commitment to a 25 year strategy for the industry. An ambitious commitment for sure, but better to have some commitment to the future of the industry than no commitment at all.
I attended one of the first strategy planning meetings which tried to identify the headline issues which will form the backbone of the strategy. The process highlighted several issues that are as relevant to the fresh produce sector as they are to the more mainstream sectors of agriculture.
Removing regulation and red tape, one of the key barriers identified in the recent British Grower survey; expanding the potential for exports; innovation and R&D; skills and apprenticeships and building a British brand are all issues which have the potential to drive growth within the fresh produce industry.
The challenge will be tuning these headlines into activities which growers can get on board with in a reasonable time scale and which produce  angible and measurable benefits. The final version of the strategy is expected towards the end of the year.