Campaign highlights importance of East Midlands farmers to the economy

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MORE local food please, we’re British – that’s the strong message from people across the East Midlands as the NFU launched a major new campaign to highlight farming’s contribution to the British economy.

More than two thirds of people (72 per cent) in the region think the UK should be more self-sufficient in food, seven out of ten think supermarkets should sell more UK produce and almost three quarters (73 per cent) always or sometimes look for British food when shopping.

The results came from a OnePoll survey commissioned by the NFU as it launched its Farming Delivers campaign.

The aim is to highlight the key role played by the industry, which employs 33,000 people in the East Midlands, had total output of almost £2.4 billion in 2010 and manages three quarters of land in the region.

NFU regional director Richard Hezlet said: “East Midlands’ farmers and growers are already playing an important role in the local food economy, and NFU’s report highlights this and much more. We have the skills and the potential to grow farming’s role not just in terms of jobs and food production, but in producing clean energy, caring for our farm animals and looking after the countryside.

“We believe there are exciting times ahead for agriculture in the East Midlands and the NFU’s survey shows that the public agrees. Six in ten people questioned believe farming will be more important in the future and that we have a key role to play in feeding a growing world population. Farming can deliver and we know we have the support of our customers: they’ve clearly said they want to buy more British food and we’re going to make that happen.”

NFU President Peter Kendall launched the campaign at Westminster on Monday and unveiled a major new report, Farming Delivers for Britain, which states that farming is the foundation stone for Britain’s food and drink industry. The report sets out the main themes of the campaign – food, the economy, animal welfare, the environment, careers and cleaner energy.

For more information about the campaign, visit www.farmingdelivers.co.uk.