On Back British Farming Day, I pay tribute to all of the farmers in our constituency for their work to help keep the shelves stocked and food in our fridges.
Despite being within the M25, much of the Orpington area is rural and features a collection of idyllic Kentish villages. We boast 22 farmers across the constituency with local agriculture primarily horticultural, growing fruits and vegetables – including a growing regional market for sparkling English wine.
I know from having met with local NFU members last summer that they face many challenges, ranging from rural crime with significant fly-tipping incidents, broadband access, and how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected the production of fertiliser and cost of other agricultural goods.
The Government is proud to celebrate Back British Farming Day and the Environment Secretary has today outlined a package of measures to help our farmers.
Industry-led calls for better signposting online so that customers ‘buy British’ have now been backed, alongside supporting campaigns to endorse the taste and quality of home-grown products.
Farmers producing sustainable British food under new environmental land management schemes will also be able to use them to help meet public procurement standards. £30 million will be made available for farmers to invest automated, robotic and solar technologies to help improve both outputs and energy security.
The Government have also started the recruitment drive for new agri-food attaches to unlock new trading markets, adding a further boost to our £24 billion food and drink exports sector.
I will be glad to help any local farmer liaise with the Department for Business and Trade for possible export opportunities, and look forward to further meetings in the coming weeks to discuss transitions from the EU’s land-based payments system towards the UK’s own new schemes, which boost farming and reward responsible stewardship for the natural environment.