‘Bounce back’ plan to help agriculture, food and drink industry
With the UK’s agriculture, food and drink industry being significantly impacted by the Coronavirus, the government has announced a new ‘bounce back’ plan.
The agriculture, food and drink sector is the country’s largest manufacturing industry, playing a vital role in the UK’s food supply chain and contributing £121 billion to the economy in 2018 and supporting as many as 4 million jobs.
The new strategic interventions jointly announced by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will offer immediate support to help businesses in the industry grow their trade activity overseas.
The measures will support producers, manufacturers and agri-tech companies across the food supply chain with physical and virtual events.
- An overseas virtual buyer trial.
- A ‘Smart Distance Selling Process’.
- A new SME E-commerce Accelerator Pilot to increase the level of international e-commerce backing for SMEs in the food and drink industry.
- The introduction of Defra’s first Agri-food Counsellor serving the Gulf, which will support the UK’s food and drink industry and represent the interests of UK businesses already exporting, or planning to export, to the region.
Minister for Export, Graham Stuart MP, DIT, commented, “More trade is absolutely critical to helping the UK’s agriculture, food and drink industry recover from the impact of coronavirus.
“The package of measures we have announced today will support ‘bounce back’ in exports, and help our world-class producers and manufacturers increase trade with the rest of the world. It will also get the industry ready to capitalise on the opportunities that are being opened up by the series of free trade agreements that my department is negotiating around the world.”
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Victoria Prentis, Defra said, “The high quality of British food and drink is recognised around the world and the wider industry supports thousands of jobs across the UK.
“This package of measures signifies our strong commitment to support the sector in recovering from the impact of coronavirus. It includes the promotion and showcasing of British expertise and produce to new export markets, identifying opportunities and strengthening existing relationships.”
Ian Wright CBE, Chief Executive of the Food and Drink Federation, added, “Support on this scale from UK Government is extremely welcome at this uncertain time. The package of measures is testament to the close and long-running work between FDF, DIT and Defra to boost our exports performance. Our success in restarting and expanding exports will be absolutely vital in aiding the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery.”
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