NFU responds to No.10 and Defra’s Food Summit
Following the news that No.10 and Defra will host a Food Summit in May, NFU president Minette Batters welcomed the potentially “turning point” event.
The event follows on from commitments made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to the UK food industry at the end of the last year, and is scheduled to take place on 16th May.
In November 2022, Minette Batters met with the Prime Minister to discuss the significant issues facing British food and farming and the importance of a Government which prioritises food and energy security. The meeting came after the NFU highlighted concerns that many farm businesses were reducing production to limit losses from soaring inflation and energy bills, and the risk that posed to Britain’s home-grown food supply.
Batters stressed the importance of the Prime Minister honouring the commitments he made during the leadership race, especially his commitment to establish a food security target, underpinned by a statutory duty to monitor domestic food production, and to hold a UK-wide annual food security summit at Number 10.
It is expected that the Summit will discuss the current challenges facing domestic food production, including the impact of shortages on the food supply chain.
Commenting on the event, Batters said: “We welcome No.10 and Defra delivering on the Prime Minister’s commitment he made to the NFU last year to host a Food Summit later this month. We are calling on Government to make this an annual summit which would mark a turning point in how previous Governments have prioritised the safe and affordable supply of sustainably produced home-grown food.”
Batters went on to say that the past 18 months have been “a stark reminder of how vulnerable the nation’s food security is”.
She said: “It has been a wake-up call for the importance of a secure domestic supply of food, and it is vital that the summit delivers actions, not just words. A start would be a serious commitment from Government to maintaining Britain’s food production self-sufficiency level at 60%, with a statutory duty to report on domestic food production and utilise powers under the Agriculture Act to make supply chains fairer.”