Farming and food backed by scheme

Portsmouth & Southsea railway station by Andy Cooper

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FOOD businesses should grow and more jobs will be created as a stretch of Hampshire and West Sussex becomes a Food Enterprise Zone.

The South Downs was named by the government as one of 11 zones across the country.

It aims to boost the food industry by providing extra funding to support businesses and make the planning process quicker, and grants of up to £50,000 will be available.

Trevor Beattie, chief executive for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: ‘The South Downs’ working landscapes have been shaped by farmers and food production for thousands of years.

‘The Food Enterprise Zone will make it simpler for our dairy farmers to reuse farm buildings for production or to set up farm shops to sell their produce to a local market.’