§ Mr. Bradshaw
[holding answer 26 June 2003]: We recognise the benefits that local food can bring and are keen to encourage the development of sustainable local food chains. Funding under the England Rural Development Programme has been used to support a range of local food chain related initiatives, including the establishment of farmers' markets and other direct sales outlets, the development of local branding initiatives and the formation of collaborative groups to market produce. We will continue to deploy our various funding schemes to encourage a flourishing local food sector. This activity will complement the measures at a regional level which the Regional Development Agencies will be implementing as part of their wider food and drink strategies.