NFU report urges government to back British
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) is calling on the government to ensure Britain’s food production will not slip below its current level of 60% self-sufficiency, alongside greater ambition in promoting British food at home and abroad to aid food security.
The call came on Back British Farming Day as the NFU released a new report which asks for the government to complete “a comprehensive report” on UK food security later this year, covering the country’s production of key foods and its contribution to global food security.
NFU have said that this report would be “the first meaningful assessment of UK food security in over a decade” and the first under the requirements of the Agriculture Act that mandates reporting every three years.
The government report should also explore how the UK can reduce its reliance on food imports by harnessing the growth opportunities for different home-grown foods and increasing British sourcing in public procurement, coupled with ambitious food and trade strategies that will help farmers provide more “quality, affordable and climate-friendly food” to people at home and abroad.
“British farmers could increase the industry’s economic contribution”
NFU president Minette Batters said: “Over the past few years, not enough importance has been placed on Britain’s food production. This has been all too clear as the country has watched its self-sufficiency drop from as high as 78% in the mid-80s to its current level of just 60%. As an island nation which is very well suited for quality food production, it would be a mistake to let that happen again and become even more reliant on the rest of the world to feed us.
“Delivering a comprehensive report into food security and taking appropriate action in response would show the government is serious and ambitious about boosting sustainable food production in Britain. This would not only help reduce the UK’s reliance on imports, which often fall below our own high standards of production, but also enable farmers to build the British brand overseas through trade.”
She added: “If our government truly backs the potential of British food and farming, the country could see huge benefits. British farmers could increase the industry’s economic contribution and provide more nutritious, affordable, climate-friendly British food for UK shoppers and people across the world, all while bolstering domestic and global food security.”