The National Farmers Union (NFU) has criticised a leaked draft of the government food strategy which has been described as “worse than half-baked” by critics.
A leaked draft of the strategy, which was published by The Guardian on Friday, has come under fire from a number of critics after it became clear that many of the key recommendations from a major review of the food system by Leon restaurant co-founder Henry Dimbleby had been ignored.
The review recommended a number of significant changes to the UK’s food system, including the expansion of free school meals, increasing environment and welfare standards in farming and a 30% reduction in meat and dairy consumption.
However, the leaked report fails to address reducing meat and dairy consumption or the contribution of soaring food prices to the current cost-of-living crisis, suggesting that the latter is not the business of a government food strategy.
NFU president Minette Batters said the strategy, due to be officially published on Monday, had stripped Dimbleby’s proposals “to the bare bones”.
“We want to be eating more British and more local food but again I just ask how,” she said, adding that while she was “pleased to see a commitment on food security” there was no guidance on how to implement the overall aims of the strategy.
“It’s all very well to have words but it’s got to have really meaningful delivery and we aren’t seeing that yet in this document.”
Batters told The Observer she met with the Prime Minister on Friday to explain that farmers were unhappy with the current situation, and that post-Brexit policies had left them at a disadvantage compared to foreign producers.
She also spoke about the fact that farmers wanted to be supported to produce food, as well as help the environment.
“I said that is what farmers in Tiverton want to see. Farmers want the detail.”