Gloucestershire’s agri-food supply chain accounts for nearly 50,000 jobs, and pre-Covid the sector was valued at approximately £1.5 billion.
It accounts for nearly 15% of the county’s jobs, and in 2017 it generated a Gross Value Added of £1.39 billion, or nearly 9% of the local economy.
Recent evaluation conducted in the 2019 Collison Report, suggests opportunity exists to boost the food processing element of the supply chain, adding further economic value and jobs to the county.
The county, recognised for its leading research and expertise in the agri-tech sector and home to a concentration of sector specialist institutions is engaged in globally relevant innovation and showcase environmental projects.
As a nation now operating outside the EU, the food and farming sector is undergoing a period of great change, bringing with it both opportunity and challenge. Compelling evidence for this narrative is outlined in the National Food Strategy and demonstrates why conversations about our food and farming system are now a matter of priority. It suggests that without current direct payments 38% of farm businesses would make a loss; it challenges government and the sector to embrace new policy and initiatives in support of a more sustainable food system.
Realising transformational change in a system with so many connecting pieces is bold and ambitious. It presents Gloucestershire with an opportunity to align its economic activities to achieve complementary outcomes rather than face the threat of misalignment, when activities inadvertently conflict, and initiatives underdeliver.