MP welcomes efforts to increase UK food production

Neil Parish calls for the UK to greatly increase food production and welcomes biotech innovations such as the blight-resistant potato.Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) (Con): It gives me great pleasure to speak in this debate, as there is no doubt about the conclusion that we should make—that there is a link between food prices and food poverty. It is apparent that the poorest in society will find high prices difficult, and we only have to look throughout the world to find that. As the population of the world reaches 7 billion, and moves towards 8 billion by 2030, we have a greater need to produce more food, and that is where I charge the previous Government, because for much of their final period in office they did not encourage food production. In fact they said, “We can import as much food as we like”; our home production did not matter.We therefore need greatly to increase our food production in this country, and as other Members have said, we need to use biotechnology in order to do so and to reduce our use of fertilisers and pesticides. A blight-resistant potato is coming, and it could increase food production while dramatically reducing the environmental consequences of spraying potatoes, so there is much we can do, but we have to go forward and do it.On the grocery code adjudicator, my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Philip Davies), who is no longer in his place, missed the point. If these wonderful supermarkets are not doing anything wrong, they have nothing to fear from the adjudicator. The point of setting up the post of adjudicator is to put him or her in place so that, if there is abuse, it can be looked at. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State wants the role of the adjudicator introduced quickly, so we need to give the legislation parliamentary time. Farmers, growers and many other people in the food chain are often squeezed not only by the big supermarkets but by the big buyers in the chains, and that is why the adjudicator is so necessary.I therefore very much welcome the debate and what the Government are doing to increase food production and ensure that common agricultural policy reform does not set aside more land and stop food production. There is a moral obligation to produce food not only for this country, but for the rest of the world.| Hansard