UK farming leader at world food summit

NFU vice president Paul Temple will deliver a hard hitting message to world leaders at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) summit in Rome today.

Delegates at the three-day food security and climate change summit include politicians and policy makers from across the world, as well as Pope Benedict XV1 and the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon.

During discussions on food security, biofuels and continued oil prices, Temple will call for a "fundamental change of culture that properly values the productive dimension if agriculture" and ask leaders to put agriculture back on the agenda.

Speaking before the conference, he said: "We have ignored agriculture for years and now we are being forced to face the issue due to disrupted supply caused by droughts and floods world wide. With agriculture coming back onto the agenda in many countries it is time to highlight the issues central to all farmers

"There needs to be a clear acknowledgement of the value of stepping up production and this needs to be backed by some serious investment in research and development - accompanied by a genuine attack on red tape, which is holding us back."

On the controversial topic of biofuels growth, Temple argues that farmers have always produced crops for food, animal feed and energy and that world should focus on other factors affecting production.

"Biofuel production currently takes only one per cent of agricultural land so when it comes to talking about the global food crisis we need to put the spotlight on other supply factors such as the weather impacting on production and the fact that historic low prices have resulted in lower investment in agriculture and land being taken out of production," he said.