The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has just announced a new scheme to encourage food growers in the countryside to be more entrepreneurial in an effort to increase overall domestic food production. It is hoped these new Food Enterprise Zones will also create new jobs for local communities. Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss has said:
“Consumers both here and abroad want to buy Great British food. These zones will ensure we can grow more top quality produce and expand our food and farming industry, which is worth more than £100 billion a year to the UK economy and is our largest manufacturing sector, worth more than cars and aerospace combined.”
DEFRA will offer grants of up to £50,000 to help people set up FEZs. These zones will essentially bring together various food producing businesses in a given area and will help streamline their processes and promote cooperation. For more information on the application process, visit this link.
The amount of food Great Britain imports has been increasing steadily over the last few years, as this graph illustrates (data: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations).
Hopefully, investing in the food-producing countryside, and prioritising domestic food production, may, in the long term, result in a lower need to import produce from countries around the world.