Labour’s shadow environment minister Huw Irranca Davies used the Oxford Farming Conference to suggest how the party’s election manifesto may apply to food and farming.
He said that a “robust long-term food plan” is needed, including research and development and knowledge transfer of R&D so that new technologies and advances are adopted by the industry. He promised that a Labour government would deliver a joined up “industrial strategy and a growth strategy,” to support rural communities and feed “the soul as well as the stomach of the nation.”
Calling the debate between increased production and sustainability a “false argument” he said Labour’s agricultural strategy would involve Defra alongside departments for business and health. He also criticised the Conservative’s approach to CAP reform. “UK leadership on radical CAP reform has been lost,” he warned. “Megaphone diplomacy on the wider EU stage… has been a textbook lesson on how to lose friends and lose influence.”