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Sun Field Farming

15th September 2021

NFU PUSHES FOOD SECURITY UP THE POLITICAL AGENDA

The NFU is calling for a commitment from government that Britain’s food production will not slip below its current level of 60% self-sufficiency

The NFU is calling for a commitment from government that 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 comes on Back British Farming Day as the NFU releases a new report1 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 security2.

This would be the first meaningful assessment of UK food security in more than a decade and the first under the requirements of the Agriculture Act (6.1, 17) that mandate reporting every three years.

The report also showcases 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.

NFU South East regional board chairman David Exwood, who farms in West Sussex, said: “Farmers and growers produce world-class food here in the maritime climate of the South East. Not only is it delicious and nutritious, but it meets some of the most demanding standards for environmental care, animal welfare, traceability, and food safety.

“Few countries around the world can say that their food standards match those of British farmers, yet over the past few years, the country’s self-sufficiency has dropped from a high of 78% in the mid-80s to its current level of just 60%. It would be a mistake for this productivity to drop still further, leaving the country reliant on the rest of the world to feed us. That’s why we’re asking Government to undertake a comprehensive report into food security and take appropriate action to demonstrate its commitment to boost 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.”

Mr Exwood, of Itchingfield, near Horsham, added: “If Government can #BackBritishFarming, then farming’s economic contribution can increase accordingly. Farming is poised to produce greater quantities of affordable, climate-friendly British food for UK shoppers and people around the world, while bolstering domestic and global food security.”