Suffolk MP slams lack of focus on food production in Agriculture Bill
- Credit: Archant
The government’s agriculture bill came under fire for failing to focus enough on healthy food production as Suffolk farmers met this week.
Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin, who was one of the guest speakers at the annual meeting of the Suffolk branch of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) on Wednesday (November 7), said a lot of the criticisms of environment secretary Michael Gove’s ‘health and harmony’ report were “well made”.
“It laid down the principle of payment for public goods, which I would support, and I think my party would support, but it didn’t mention food,” he said.
The bill has already come under fire from the NFU because of the focus on environment over food production.
Mr Martin sits on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee currently scrutinising the Agriculture Bill, as well as recently being appointed Labour’s shadow minister for waste and recycling, and admitted he was on a “steep learning curve”, getting to grips with his agricultural brief. He and the rest of the committee were currently going through the bill ‘line by line’.
You may also want to watch:
While it did receive representation from various parties, “the ones we take most seriously are the ones from the NFU”, he said.
“We need to have an agriculture bill because we need a system to govern the way payments are made to agriculture once we stop being part of the EU,” he said.
- 1 ‘Demolition Man’ Cook tells vast majority of Ipswich Town squad to find new clubs
- 2 Mike Bacon: It's going to take more than 'potential' to get into Cook's starting XI next season
- 3 Angry resident threatened with arrest over fake parking tickets
- 4 Indian Covid variant being monitored in Suffolk after one case confirmed
- 5 Woman's body found in village home
- 6 WATCH: Rude graffiti highlights 'huge' potholes
- 7 Wigan kitman Craney given Town coaching role by Cook
- 8 Couple were found 'slumped over' on their sofa, inquest hears
- 9 Classic car show to return this summer with new venue
- 10 'It's been a strange few days' - Skuse gives emotional exit interview
While supporting environmental measures, but felt these were “completely pointless if we are not actually producing food”. “We accept the importance of payment for public goods, but we believe that should include food,” he said.
There were lots of foods the UK ought to be growing more of, he argued, as he revealed a partiality for broad beans - often difficult to find in grocery stores.
“There are lots of other healthy foods that the climate and soils in this country are absolutely ideal for,” he added.
The current system, under the current European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), effectively paid farmers for being farmers and had environment schemes that were too bureaucratic, he said, agreeing that something should be done. “This does prevent over-production, but it doesn’t necessarily reward good practice,” he said.