The Farming Minister George Eustice MP visited Holbeach on Thursday 15th January to launch a new body which will champion the area’s food producers.
The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership has created a Food Board made up of senior figures from food and farming which was officially launched on Thursday 15th January 2015.
On the day of the ministerial visit the LEP also unveiled its Agri-Food Plan 2014-2020 whose vision is to create the environment to work towards a long-term ambition to double the economic value of the food industry in Greater Lincolnshire by 2030.
Mr Eustice, who is Minister for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment at DEFRA, presided over the launch of the board and plan at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing in Holbeach, part of the University of Lincoln.
“Greater Lincolnshire is the food heartland of the UK but the agri-food sector is often overlooked when it comes to prioritising support for business,” said Mark Tinsley, a member of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP board who leads on agri-food.
“Without our agri-food sector and all the people in it who grow, harvest, prepare and distribute our food, this region would be in a much worse economic state and the country would have to import far more food than it already does.
“That’s why the Greater Lincolnshire LEP has made agri-food one of its priority sectors, and we’re launching our Agri-Food Plan this week to set out how we can help our food processing and farming businesses to grow even further.”
The Food Board will support the plan’s objectives by informing and advising the LEP on issues and challenges which face the sector such as water management, planning, transport infrastructure, the translation of research to industry or skills requirements.
“We have already made progress with a survey of future water requirements needs and a request for the food sector’s views on the importance of improved flood defences,” said Mark.
Food and Farming Minister George Eustice said: “The food and farming sector is incredibly important to this country – the whole food chain is worth more than £100 billion to the economy, employing one in eight people, and that’s why it’s at the heart of our long-term economic plan.
“We want to support this growth and see the UK food and farming industry become the best in the world – exciting, dynamic and at the forefront of technology and innovation.
“It is excellent to see areas like Lincolnshire taking a lead, recognising the huge contribution the sector makes to the local economy and developing ambitious plans for future growth.”