Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 29 September 2008.

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Photo of Bob Russell Bob Russell Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals to increase food production through (a) agriculture, (b) horticulture, (c) allotments and (d) residential gardens; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jonathan R Shaw Jonathan R Shaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs) and Minister for the South East), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

holding answer 17 September 2008

Promoting a strong domestic farming sector is central to Defra's work, which is why one of its departmental strategic objectives is "a thriving farming and food sector with an improving net environmental impact".

Defra is spending half its research budget on supporting the farming and food sectors. £27.5 million is aimed at resource management in farming and food industries, including energy and water use, and on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Government are working with food producers and processors to help prevent animal and plant disease, and with the farming industry to ensure there are enough workers with the right skills through the Skills for Farming project.

The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit's recent study entitled "Food Matters: Towards a Strategy for the 21st century" published in July this year, identified a number of areas requiring further examination by the Government. Defra is taking forward the report's recommendation on the need for a sustainable vision to guide future food policy in conjunction with the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency.

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