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Buy British fruit and veg urges Environment Secretary

07 January 2014

Rather than importing fruit and vegetables from abroad, consumers should buy British, according to Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson.

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Paterson will tell delegates at today’s Oxford Farming Conference how 24% of all food eaten in the UK is imported.

He is expected to say: “We have a top class fruit and veg sector which produces everything from green beans to strawberries, yet we imported £8billion of fruit and veg in 2012. We can't grow mangoes or pineapples, but we can encourage UK consumers and food businesses to buy Scottish raspberries or Kent apples.

"This is a huge opportunity, and it's up to all of us - farmers, food manufacturers and the Government - to take action. By buying seasonal fruit and veg we can improve the nation's health, help the environment and boost the economy."

Paterson believes that changes to livestock movement rules will save farmers and taxpayers £70million over 10 years, while cutting red tape will make it easier for farming businesses to flourish and minimise the risk of diseases such as bovine TB.

The changes follow recommendations made by The Task Force on Farming Regulation and will be introduced from 2016.

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