MAY 22, 2008: British agriculture needs a new vision for scientific research anddevelopment if it is to meet the challenges of food security andclimate change, according to a new report.

The message comes from the Commercial Farmers Group (CFG) following research into the state of scientific research in British agriculture.The report points out that national self sufficiency in indigenous foods has fallen by nearly 20 per cent over the past 13 years, leaving the UK reliant on foreign imports.The group argues that as global food shortages tighten, imports will no longer be reliable and could worsen the situation in the UK, leading to further increases in food prices.CFG chairman Mark Tinsley said: “This new vision for R&D is urgently required if we are to develop innovative agricultural systems in the UK to help the industry to be globally competitive while retaining its positive environmental achievements.“At the same time it would also reduce our reliance on food imports and could help to contain inflation.”The report, led by Professor David Leaver, recommends that the Government elevate the status of agricultural research in Britain’s universities, and urges the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board to take a lead in establishing a new R&D chain throughout the industry.

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