Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

Farming Smarter: Investing in our future

25th March 2021

Farming Smarter: Investing in our future urges government to establish an Agroecology Development Bank which would serve a distinct and specialised role in agricultural and rural transformation. It provides a ‘win-win’ for UK governments by helping deliver against climate and nature ambitions and, at the same time, helping the agricultural sector to thrive.

Governments have, in the past, kickstarted transitions to cleaner energy, housing and transport, acknowledging that the market alone is rarely capable of making the bold moves needed to accelerate change. The same shift is now needed for agriculture.

Agroecology works with nature, and harnesses innovation and green technologies to improve climate and health. This approach to farming is increasingly being adopted by farmers who, in addition to wanting to farm more sustainably, see its potential to improve profitability given the huge reductions in input costs.

But there remain significant barriers to change – particularly for young and new entrants, tenant farmers (40% of the sector) and horticulture businesses - due to a lack of the right kind of private finance available at the pace and scale required.

Farming Smarter: Investing in our future suggests that a new bank, complementary to the British Business Bank, the newly established National Infrastructure Bank, the Scottish Investment Bank and Development Bank of Wales, could be game-changing in terms of encouraging rapid change and meeting UK climate goals.

The full report can be downloaded above.