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Farming technology strategy needs to avoid creating a mega-farm dominated countryside’

22 July 2013

 

 

CPRE today cautioned that the Government’s new Agri-Tech Strategy [1] needs to avoid the mistakes of the past when it comes to introducing new agricultural technology to increase food production. Previously, new technologies have had serious consequences for our countryside’s wildlife and landscape features such as hedgerows [2].

 

Ian Woodhurst, CPRE’s Senior Food and Farming Campaigner said: ‘We’ve found out bigger is not always better, and so we need to avoid new technology driving us into a mega-farm cul-de-sac, where only those who can afford to use new technologies dominate food production [3]. We need a diverse agricultural and food sector so that new entrants to farming can get into the industry, and local food producers and farms of all sizes can introduce innovative ways of producing our food without damaging the character of our landscapes and wildlife.’

CPRE's Vision for Farming [4] set out our aspiration for centres of agricultural excellence and innovation developing new technology and farming practices that produce the food we need without damaging the environment. In some cases significant environmental gains could be made just by using existing technology more widely, for example methods of growing crops using lower quantities of agri-chemicals. [5].

CPRE would also like more action to prevent huge quantities of food being wasted [6], alongside research and investment into new agricultural technology to produce more food.

Ian Woodhurst concluded:

‘Even small, inexpensive technological innovations [7] can make a big difference when it comes to boosting farmers’ yields and profits while at the same time protecting our soil, water, wildlife habitats and landscape features. The strategy shouldn’t end up losing sight of the need to develop innovative technology and farming practices for farms of all sizes. It’s in this way that we can have high quality, healthy and affordable food produced where's it needed, in environmentally sustainable ways.’

 

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