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Farming’s big shake-up

4 December, 2020

Last week in Friday 5 we saw Astanor Ventures launch a $325 million fund dedicated to transforming our agriculture and food systems, which will be Europe’s largest agtech fund to date. This week we’ve seen DEFRA announce the Path to Sustainable Farming which aims to put the environment first – hailing it to be the biggest shake-up in UK farming in the last 50 years. Is change finally upon us?

The roadmap outlines new requirements that will be coming into force over the next seven years, now the UK has left the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy. The new system will be tailored towards rewarding farmers and land managers for managing their land to produce healthy food alongside other vital benefits, such as carbon storage, improvement of soil health or enhancing animal welfare. It will also ensure it pays to support local nature recovery and encourage the delivery of projects that will help us to meet a number of UK targets: to plant 30,000 hectares of new woodland each year by 2025, to protect 30% of land by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050.

There has been a bit of a mixed response to the announcement, with some experts highlighting the lack of detail and clarity behind it and others stating that the new policy is a ‘pick and mix’ approach, which will side-line essential organic production.

At Good Business we believe it still remains an important step in the right direction. We also look forward to seeing the recommendations made in Part 2 of the National Food Strategy which is due to be published early in 2021. As Part 2 of the strategy will be focusing on examining our food system and the interwoven issues of climate change, biodiversity, pollution, antimicrobial resistance and sustainable use of resources.

By Gemma Coate

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