East Anglia stars in food and farming innovation


12-02-2015

Star researchers in Norfolk and across East Anglia are bringing real innovation to the UK food and farming industry, which is at the heart of the long-term economic plan, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said today.

 

Speaking at the Norfolk Farming Conference, she highlighted the role that scientists working at the John Innes Centre and the Institute of Food Research in Norwich are playing in helping British food producers flourish.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:“Norfolk is a powerhouse of British food and farming research. The scientists here are part of a constellation of star researchers in the wider region who are unleashing the potential of our food producers so they can lead the world.

“This is vital for Britain and for the British economy – because the whole food chain is worth more than £100 billion. It is part of our long-term economic plan and it is vital to securing Britain’s economic future.”

The Secretary of State highlighted the tradition of farming innovation in Norfolk, where research into blight-resistant potatoes is potentially saving £3bn-worth of lost crops around the world each year, and where Holkham has pioneered six-course crop rotation to preserve the quality of its farmland for future generations.

She also set out what the government is doing to ensure food and farming is at the heart of the long-term economic plan, including promoting British exports, backing local foods and cutting red tape.

Elizabeth Truss said:“The food innovation we have seen for hundreds of years and still see in Norfolk today sends a clear message - food and farming is not an optional extra for Britain.

“Three quarters of our land is used for farming; it is central to our national and local identity. No one has a more important role than farmers in making sure we have a healthy, thriving natural environment.

“This government recognises just how indispensable farmers, farming and food production are to this country. We have backed farming and I am going to make sure it stays right where it belongs-at the heart of our decisions about this country’s future.”

The Norfolk Farming Conference is held today (Thursday 12 February) at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.

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For further information please contact Paul Leat in Defra’s News and External Communications office on 0207 238 6092.
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