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Agriculture: Fruit and Vegetables

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th June 2011.

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Photo of Baroness Byford Baroness Byford Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action plans they have to increase fruit and vegetable production.

Photo of Lord Henley Lord Henley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

In August 2010, the Fruit and Vegetable Task Force published its report on increasing fruit and vegetable production and consumption and in October followed this with an action plan for industry, growers, retailers, wholesalers, NGOs and Government to take forward, working together to reduce barriers and find innovative solutions. We are continuing to take a close and positive interest in progress on the action plan. In May 2011, the Task Force on Farming Regulation reported on reducing the regulatory barriers facing farmers, including fruit and vegetable growers. The Government will respond later this year.

The Government also provided funding of up to £7 million on research and development last year on horticultural crops.

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is the UK's national innovation agency, with a goal of accelerating economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. The TSB's new Innovation Programme on Agri-Food is now the key vehicle for collaborative funding in this area and is an exciting opportunity for the industry. The programme has up to £90 million over the next five years to encourage industry innovation, including up to £30 million from Defra for joint funding with industry. The first call has already been launched on the issue of crop protection.

We are also encouraging increased consumption of fruit and vegetables with the 5 A Day Campaign, the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme and supporting projects to reconnect children and schools with farms and food production.

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