To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farmers' markets there are in England; what steps he is taking to encourage the setting up of such markets; what steps he is taking to encourage shops in market towns to purchase produce from local farmers; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Quin
The National Association of Farmers' Markets (NAFM) estimate that there are about 150 farmers' markets currently operating in England and expect that number to rise significantly over the coming year. We fully support NAFM and their work to promote the farmers' market movement. We also wish to encourage farmers to £ million Funding 247W better market their products through shops and other outlets, and financial support for new marketing initiatives will be a key feature of the England Rural Development Plan which will come into operation later this year.