Julian Hunt
Sir Don Curry has urged the organisations engaged in helping local producers to pool their resources rather than continue with a system that he claims has created too much overlap, confusion and waste.
Speaking at a conference organised by Heart of England Fine Foods, Sir Don said local and regional food was a growth market ­ adding "there are not many of them".
He said: "It would be wrong to say the opportunities are unlimited. But in my view there are masses of opportunities in regional and local food markets that we have not yet unlocked."
However, he said the regional map was far too complex, with so many organisations offering help that it was difficult for people to know how to access the available support.
Worse, Sir Don said this was leading to a drain on valuable resources that could be better spent."What we need in each of the regions is a single regional plan which all the agencies and bodies have bought into and which minimises any overlap. We need to demolish the ivory towers and egos and get everybody running in the same direction.
"I will work hard to make sure everybody is engaged in the marshalling of resources in the best possible way."
He told the food group's conference ­ which coincided with its fifth anniversary ­ that he was now focused on ensuring his Commission's report into the future of farming and food was implemented.
"Drafting and writing the report was one challenge, but it's another challenge entirely delivering it," he said.
"But the industry must engage and take responsibility for making it happen. This is true partnership. Unless the industry picks up responsibility and government works with industry then we will fail."