UK government backs regional Food Enterprise Zones to boost supply chains

18 July 2015

Work to create a network of food hubs, which aim to bring different parts of the supply chain together, is set to start early next year.

The 17 UK government-backed Food Enterprise Zones (FEZs) will be established in regions across England, with a share of £830,000 funding to help fast-track the expansion of food and farming businesses in the regions.

The aim is for the hubs to create greater collaboration between rural businesses, kick-start local food economies and help people develop new skills.

They will also create more than 10,000 new jobs, support tourism and inject investment into rural communities across the country, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Environment secretary Liz Truss said the farming industry was worth more than £100 billion a year.

“Food Enterprise Zones will unleash food entrepreneurs, bringing together researchers, farmers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers so they can improve productivity and spark new ideas off each other all the way along the supply chain from farm to fork, from lab to lunch,” she said.

The food hubs will include an 'artisanal food village' in Cornwall, an agri-food park near Malton in North Yorkshire, and a cluster of local artisan food producers around the River Orwell in Suffolk.

Defra said food and farming was the biggest manufacturing sector in Britain, with exports of UK food and drink around the world totalling almost £19 billion.

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