U.K. food businesses are to be boosted by a new government initiative that will create 11 food 'Food Enterprise Zones' (FEZs) designed to catapult the country's food industry and empower local producers.
In an announcement by the British government yesterday (Feb.12), Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss says the zones will help to unlock the potential of local food and farming businesses to drive the U.K.'s agricultural economical input.
The FEZs will ensure communities can expand their businesses while allowing them to protect valuable countryside.
By giving power to local people and allowing them to decide what kinds of business should be in their FEZ and where they should be located, the government hopes to unleash 'entrepreneurial spirit' and attract investment.
"Consumers both here (U.K.) and abroad want to buy Great British food," Truss says in a release.
"These zones will ensure we can grow more top quality produce and expand our food industry, which is worth more than £100 billion (US$153 billion) a year to the UK economy, more than care and aerospace combined.
"Food and farming is at the heart of our long-term economic plan and vital to securing Britain's economic future."
Grants of up to £50,000 (US$76,000) will be available to set up the zones in the following areas; Somerset, South Downs, Cornwall, Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Worcestershire, Leicestershire, Cheshire and West Sussex.