The Agriculture Bill to be debated in parliament on May 13th will set the course of our farming system for many generations. The Bill as it stands does much to protect the environment, but we believe the Bill should do more to protect our farmers and support our supply of healthy, home grown food.
It is entirely possible to produce more of the food we need through nature-friendly, agroecological farming. To achieve this, we need to:
- Protect our farmers from being undercut by low standard trade imports
- Support a transition to agroecological farming with R&D, training, and financial incentives
We are asking members of parliament to vote for Amendment NC2 (on trade) and Amendments 18 & 19 (on agroecology) to the Agriculture Bill in the House of Commons debate scheduled for Wednesday May 13th.
Amendment NC2 on “International trade agreements: agricultural and food products” only allows imports that have been produced to relevant domestic standards.
Imported food produced to lower standards undercuts prices for UK farmers producing to high standards. As direct payments are reduced many farm businesses will be economically vulnerable. They need fair prices to survive and produce the high welfare food we need.
This trade amendment will be essential to implementation of the promised Food Strategy which should set clear targets for reducing the UK’s reliance on imports whilst delivering environmental and social public goods.
Agroecology Amendments 18 & 19 bring together food production and the environment.
An agroecology amendment would require the emerging support schemes to incentivise farming techniques that deliver environmental benefits across productive farms.
Agroecology is necessary to ensure we are responsible for our own food security at the same time as looking after the environment. A win-win for everyone!
The Government’s response to date is that you could support agroecology under the current powers, but we believe there needs to be something explicit and bold, recognising the importance and benefits of agroecology to UK farming.
Agroecology is regenerative of biodiversity, soils, and the environment. It builds a better food system by:
- Promoting soil that holds carbon
- Incorporating trees and nature into agricultural systems
- Reducing imported animal feeds
- Eliminating atmospheric pollution from nitrate fertilizers and slurry
- Managing livestock in a climate friendly way to reduce methane
- Localising food supply chains to reduce transport, waste, packaging, and refrigeration
- Maintaining local genetic diversity
- Creating mixed farms
- Enabling affordable access to good food
We want a dedicated and ambitious programme of support for an agroecological transition to maintain our national food security in the face of the public health, climate, and nature emergencies we face!
Email your MP now to urge them to vote for Amendments NC2 and 18 & 19.