Improving business resilience, sustainability, and seizing trade opportunities for the UK’s agri-food supply industry were the recurring themes ..
from expert speakers at this year’s Agribusiness conference, which was held online for the first time on 11 November 2020. The conference, delivered by UK trade association the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) which represents the agrisupply industry, reflected on the challenges and opportunities faced by the sector, not least those provided by the Covid-19 pandemic, which Caz Graham, Conference Chair, rightly pointed out, highlighted the critical importance of the sector in the delivery of food to the public. Agribusiness 2021 coincidentally took place on the same day that the new Agriculture Bill received its Royal Assent. The significance was not lost on Victoria Prentice MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Defra, who took to the virtual stage, to discuss how removing the ‘comfort blanket of the Common Agricultural Policy’ and adopting a new approach to agricultural funding, with a focus on environmental sustainability, would also support farm productivity and profitability in the longer term. By working together, we can take forward the opportunities that you have identified. Your commitment to ongoing investment will be crucial to improving profitability, while at the same time making the adaptations we need to avert climate change.”. This vision of working together was echoed by Robert Sheasby, AIC’s Chief Executive, who highlighted the role of AIC in supporting its members as the industry navigates its way through changing agricultural legislation, new trade deals, and the threats posed by climate change, the weather and unexpected challenges like Covid-19.