NFU urges government to take domestic food production seriously

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has urged the government to take domestic food production seriously and to ensure food is given the same focus and political prioritisation as the environment.

While statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show the UK is 60% self-sufficient in all foods, NFU president Minette Batters has called on the prime minister to “put words into action.”

She said that the government must introduce legislation to “ensure the UK’s self-sufficiency does not drop below its current level of 60%”.

Batters added that with UK agri-food inflation having risen to 19.2%, disruption in the food supply chain caused by the war in Ukraine and having had the driest February since 1993, she has “never known such volatility in the global food system.”

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She said that the UK’s food supply chains need to be “better prepared and more resilient” to deal with factors such as “the extremes of weather”, with unseasonal heavy rain throughout much of July and August.

“Climate change is wreaking havoc on food production across the world, with farmers in Southern Europe literally fighting fires while farmers here are despairing as they now must spend thousands of pounds to dry sodden grain. At the same time, the conflict in Ukraine is putting pressure on the global grain market.”

The NFU has also called on the government to ensure retailers do not remain “over-reliant on imports when other countries are also facing significant challenges economically and climatically”.

“Our supply chains are too vulnerable. So, the government needs to take an active interest in the UK food chain resilience,” Batters added.



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