PM lays out food security index as he urges farmers to grow more veg

Prime minister Rishi Sunak launched his food security index to farmers, warning the UK should not be too reliant on foreign imports.

While the new index found that the UK farming sector is as “it’s most productive since records began” it said the UK fruit and vegetable sector is “significantly lagging behind” meat, grans and dairy.

The government said that farmers need to grow more fruit and vegetables after the index found that just 17% of fruit and 55% of vegetables are grown in the UK.

As a result, public funding for the UK horticulture is being doubled to £80m, as announced at the farm to fork summit at Downing Street today (14 May).

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However, according to the BBC, critics have said the scheme doesn’t go far enough.

It comes as British farming has seen exceptional rainfall and storms in recent months which have impacted the livestock, arable and horticultural sectors and disrupted individual businesses throughout the country.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) added that one of its recent surveys found that 65% of farmer respondents said their profits were down.

Speaking of the government’s plans, NFU president Tom Bradshaw told the publication: “These are long-term strategic ambitions and, thanks to the wettest eighteen months since 1836, many of our members face a serious short-term crisis and believe they may not survive long enough to benefit from these announcements.”

It comes as earlier this month, UK farming unions including the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru and Ulster Farmers’ Union called on major retailers to support the industry following the “challenging and disruptive” weather conditions.



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