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Isle of Man working towards greater food industry security

Isle of Man working towards greater food industry security

Tynwald - the parliament of the Isle of Man - is to be asked to consider a new food industry policy for the island at its June meeting.

The Isle of Man Food Security Strategy has been devised by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and aims to safeguard the island's food industry over the coming years.

Minister for environment, food and agriculture Phil Gawne will present the document to Tynwald next month, asking them to accept it and therefore secure the safety of the sector for the next 20 to 40 years.

The strategy follows a report published by chief scientific adviser to the UK government Professor Sir John Beddington, entitled Foresight, Future of Food and Farming, which highlighted concerns that could affect the food industry in the near future, such as environmental changes and rising prices.

With population and demand both increasing, crops need greater attention to ensure they can substantially feed livestock, as well as people.

Mr Gawne explained: "We face global challenges which mean we need to think differently about our relationship with food. We need to produce more food without damaging the natural resources we all depend upon. We need to feed more people the world over, many of whom want or need a better diet. And we need to do this is the light of the increasing challenge of climate change."

Therefore, the strategy focuses on ways in which such issues could be solved, outlining plans for growing the island's food industry, encouraging exports, improving safety and hygiene procedures and working to reduce high levels of waste.

In addition, the document highlights that more support needs to be offered to local farmers and fishermen, while the supply chain - in particular the transportation of produce to the isle - requires further attention.

It is hoped jobs will be safeguarded thanks to the new strategy too, with 1,200 on the Isle of Man currently employed at fisheries and in the island's agri-food sector. 

Overall, these industries contribute in excess of £70 million to the isle's economy.

 

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