Sir Tim Smit, the founder of Eden Project, said a revolution in attitudes to producing food was needed after the UK leaves the European Union.
Sir Tim, who’s project has contributed over £1 billion into the Cornish economy, argued the political leadership in Britain needed to wake up to the fact that food production will be the most important profession as the global population moves towards 9 billion.
The businessman, told Radio 4: “I’m absolutely petrified that we are living in a time when those that are our political leaders are so dumb they haven’t spotted the average age of farmers worldwide is over 60 and in Britain is just under 60.
“They have allowed agriculture colleges and horticultural college to decline to a degree where morale is hugely low, where the quality of students that we need is not being attracted nor the quantity.
EDEN PROJECT • GETTY
Sir Tim Smit suggested the UK needed to rethink its attitude towards agriculture
“If at I look at the country of my birth, Holland, if you’re a farmer or a horticulturist it is a career, you are a professional and agriculture is regarded every bit as much of an applied science as pharmacy, engineering, medicine.”
Sir Tim added as an island, the UK had to think ahead to the future and embrace a bold philosophy to secure the country’s food supply going into the future.
He said: “In this country, we have a government department which is basically where people go to die, it’s like an elephant’s graveyard.
“And we have a professional class that actually looks down their nose at people in agriculture and horticulture as if they were somehow to be pitied.
The issue of the rural economy is probably the most important issue that Brexit is going to throw up
Sir Tim Smit
“I think we need a few narratives about being an island nation both for energy and for farming.”
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Despite hitting out at the Government’s attitude towards agriculture, Sir Tim urged Theresa May to make the rural economy a priority.
“Have to have a philosophy about the nurture of our countryside which dares to talk about the interests of our nation over 150-200 years,” he said.
“I think the issue of the rural economy is probably the most important issue that Brexit is going to throw up.”
It comes as Mrs May on Monday revealed she will trigger Article 50 and begin Britain's historic departure from the EU on March 29.
Find out what the BUDGET means for YOU Mon, March 20, 2017
Budget 2017: Philip Hammond hailed Britain’s booming Brexit economy today as he delivered his first Budget of the year
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Mr Hammond says he is 'building the foundations of a stronger, fairer, more global Britain'
Brexit Secretary David Davis said: "Last June, the people of the UK made the historic decision to leave the EU.
"Next Wednesday, the Government will deliver on that decision and formally start the process by triggering Article 50.
"We are on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation.
"The Government is clear in its aims: a deal that works for every nation and region of the UK and indeed for all of Europe – a new, positive partnership between the UK and our friends and allies in the EU."