The NFU is to publish a Food Strategy after Government plans to create one were significantly delayed.
Last June, Defra Secretary Michael Gove promised the department would put together a strategy and tasked co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain Henry Dimbleby with its development, but work on it has not yet started because of a heavy focus on Brexit planning.
Philip Hambling, the NFU’s head of food and farming, is leading on the union’s food plan and told Farmers Guardian his team had been working with interested groups from a range of sectors to put it together.
“We did not want to put out a document which was just us putting the world to rights on this, with no other input from anyone else,” he said.
“We spoke to the RSPB, Buglife, big retailers, food companies and others. What is new about this is our attempt to bring everyone to the table to try to put together a coherent food strategy to influence Government policy.”
The plan will be based upon four pillars: the ‘moral imperative’, which focuses on the UK’s ability to feed itself; food integrity, standards and safety; healthy eating and nutrition and agriculture’s relationship with nature.
Roundtables made up of interested parties have been set up to look at each of the four themes, with Defra invited to listen to the discussions.
Mr Hambling said: “Henry [Dimbleby] has said quite openly he has not started work on the Food Strategy yet.
“He has not even drawn up the terms of reference, so he has been invited to join our roundtables to hear directly what other stakeholders have to say and to see the direction of travel in our thinking.
“We hope to feed our responses into the consultation on the Government’s food strategy.”
The NFU is planning to publish the views it has collected in April this year, followed by a fuller document setting out its own position in May.