Three food producers in the region have won the East of England Co-op's Producer of the Year awards.
Rossi Ice Cream from Southend have scooped the Essex award. Buxton Potato Company have won for Norfolk and Lane Farm Country Foods from Brundish, near Woodbridge, have been voted producer of the year for Suffolk.
All three producers now go through to the national finals.
The future of the agriculture and food sector in Suffolk is being discussed today. Farmers, industry leaders and local authorities will meet at an agricultural conference. Globally production will need to increase by 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 to meet resources.
The success and growth of the county's agricultural sector is vital not only to Suffolk but to the rest of the country. With both Suffolk and Norfolk combined producing nearly half of England's sugar beet, turkeys and ducks, a quarter of all pigs and geese, and a fifth of the potatoes, vegetables, salads and peas, it is a sector that simply cannot be forgotten. A thriving agricultural and food sector in Suffolk can also help to rebalance the economy and deliver growth to the county."
– Councillor Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council
The conference will look at how Suffolk can meet this challenge by discussing:
Jobs and the future workforce
Water and resources
Planning and infrastructure
Market and supply chains
A number of challenges lie ahead, including filling the skills gap, the effect of climate change on crops, and exploring how to increase crop yield whilst protecting the land. However here in Suffolk we are well placed to face head on these difficulties. We have a good climate, large markets, a dynamic food processing sector and a world class knowledge base."
– Chris Bushby, Executive Director of the Suffolk Agricultural Association