British farmers must be helped to sell their produce to countries in Asia and America as part of the Government’s new push to increase exports, the industry’s union leader said.
National Farmers’ Union president Meurig Raymond welcomed the announcement earlier this month that Defra’s Great British Food Unit was now open for business and said he would ensure that the union played its part in meeting Environment Secretary Liz Truss’s call for the creation of more food industry apprenticeships.
Mr Raymond said: “With 2016 being designated the year of British food, I am encouraged by the Government’s move in establishing a unit which will help promote and celebrate great British food.
“Anything which can showcase British farming and farmers, not just for they food they produce, but for the value the British farming industry adds to the economy, employment and our beautiful and diverse countryside is a step in the right direction.
“What I want to see now is more export markets being made available to British farmers to sell to countries such as China, Japan, the USA and Saudi Arabia.”
The Government’s commitment to driving exports through a centralised team of experts from across Defra could hardly be more timely, Mr Raymond said.
Miss Truss said the idea of the food unit was to “turbo-charge” UK food exports, a drive which she said might create an extra 5,000 jobs.
Long-term, the new unit is intended to help the UK match France and Germany, which both currently export food and drink products which, in total, are worth more than double that of the UK’s exports.
The unit will also aim to attract more foreign direct investment into the food industry and increasing the number of Protected Food Names to help differentiate British producers in the eyes of international markets.