Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation The future of food and agriculture—Alternative pathways to 2050, published on 4 October 2018; and what assessment they have made of which elements of that report apply to UK agriculture.

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

Defra has not specifically made an assessment of the report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation: ‘The future of food and agriculture – alternative pathways to 2050’. However, the issues addressed in this report are a priority for Defra. Defra Group’s Strategy sets out our ambition for the UK to be a world-leading food, farming and fishing nation; that we will grow more, sell more, and export more food around the world. It also sets out our ambition is to be the first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than that in which we found it.

We are committed to changing UK farming for the better as we leave the EU. The Agriculture Bill will help farmers in England to grow high quality food in a more sustainable way, enhancing the environment for future generations.

Defra Research and Development (R&D) also seeks to develop our knowledge in these areas, including research on sustainable intensification, through which farming systems can maintain or increase outputs while enhancing environmental and societal benefits; and breeding to improve the productivity, sustainability and resilience of food production, through our Genetic Improvement Networks.

Together with existing R&D, new cross-cutting measures for innovation, being developed alongside the Agriculture Bill will balance the needs to increase productivity and promote environmental benefit, enabling long term resilience and sustainability.

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