Sowing the seeds
On Monday 6 February, the House of Lords will debate innovation in EU agriculture following findings by the Lords Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment EU Sub-Committee that the EU must do more to stimulate and invest in innovation in the agricultural sector.
The report, Innovation in EU Agriculture, was published in July 2011, after a nine month inquiry.
Lord Carter of Coles (Labour), Chair of the Committee, who will open the debate, said:
“There has never been a more appropriate time to consider how to promote innovation in EU agriculture: the debate on our report should once again highlight the urgency of the issue.
“Our agricultural sector is facing enormous challenges, from an ever-increasing population to the demand for nutritionally-better but affordable food. And we are also facing the problems of finite land resources, the impact of climate change and the necessary reduction of the industry's reliance on fossil fuels and practices that emit greenhouse gases.
“The EU's Common Agricultural Policy needs to be radically changed to fit European farming for the future. Financial support needs to be tied in far more closely to innovation and sustainability, but the offer of advice to farmers needs to be greatly strengthened to help them meet the challenges. With its proposals for CAP reform of last October, the European Commission has taken only modest steps in this direction: much more needs to be done.”
The debate is scheduled to start at about 5pm and will include contributions from:
- Lord Knight of Weymouth (Labour), former Minister of and Party Spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and party Spokesperson
- Lord Curry of Kirkhale (Crossbench), who will be making his Maiden Speech, former Chair of the Commission on the Future of Farming and Food
- Baroness Byford (Conservative), former Opposition Spokesperson for Food, Farming and Rural Affairs and President of Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF)
- Lord Plumb (Conservative), a fellow of the Royal Agricultural College
- Baroness Parminter (Liberal Democrat), Lord Giddens (Labour), the Earl of Caithness (Conservative), Baroness Sharp of Guildford (Liberal Democrat) and Lord Cameron of Dillington (Crossbench), Committee members.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach (Conservative) will respond on behalf of the Government.
The debate is open to media and the public. Please allow time for security screening.
The debate will also be broadcast live on Parliament TV.