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#FarmingCAN - Integrity and innovation is at the heart of UK food system

By Cedric Porter

 

In a world where producing more food while protecting the planet will become increasingly important, the UK should develop its reputation for integrity and innovation, Michael Winter, professor of land economy and society at Exeter University has said.

“Britain still has a global reputation as a leader in agricultural research and it will be important to build on that as the country forges a new place in the post-Brexit and pandemic world," said Prof Winter.

 

He said the UK’s reputation for high animal welfare and environmental standards can play well in developed markets such as the USA as well as in developing ones.

 

He added the UK’s pragmatic, but responsible, attitude to the development of technology such as gene editing could provide opportunities, although it might cause issues with exports to the EU.


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Prof Winter is one of the architects behind the concept of ‘sustainable intensification’ whereby food is produced more effectively limiting the need for extra farmland.

 

“There is a worrying school of thought that believes that less productive agriculture can both feed and protect the world. But that would mean a dramatic change in the way we eat and would risk us neither feeding a growing global population while destroying precious habitats and increasing carbon use," he added.

 

“The UK has a unique opportunity to take a lead in demonstrating that high quality food can be produced sustainably, ethically and responsibly. Food that is not produced in that way is likely to fall out of favour.”

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