Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 25th October 2018.

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Vicki Hird:

We want clause 1 to ensure that farms can continue. One of the ways it should do that is to ensure that the farming system is resilient and robust against the shocks that might hit it. That would include ensuring that the natural base is healthy—the soil, the water and the animals, as system-based resilience factors. It also should ensure that they are diversified if possible, ensuring that they are fulfilling the potential to have import substitution in areas such as horticulture.

We are keen to have a public health purpose in that section, which I do not think is strong enough yet. We are calling for a public health clause because we see a great benefit in boosting the sectors that are good for public health and changing the sectors that are not. That will mean diversifying and making the farming system more able to withstand shocks, because farmers will not be putting all their eggs—to use the wrong phrase—in one basket.