The NFU has published renewed calls for more government action on increasing domestic food production.
Today marks the point in the year when the UK would run out of food if it had to be self-sufficient, the NFU has warned. It told the government it needs to take domestic food production seriously and ensure food is given the same focus and political prioritisation as the environment.
“I have never known such volatility in the global food system,” said NFU president Minette Batters. “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,” she added. “Ongoing inflation of input costs such as energy and fertiliser have meant that, for many farmers and growers, this year has already been incredibly expensive to produce food.”
She called for supply chains to become “better prepared and more resilient to dealing with global shocks and the extremes of weather” as the UK is currently “over-reliant on imports”.
The UK is currently 60% self-sufficient in food production, but Batters said “we need to be able to produce more of our own food at home” as “our supply chains are too vulnerable”.
“Today puts that into context as it marks the day of the year we would run out of food if we only had access to UK produce,” said Batters.
This comes as retailers have been criticised for prioritising foreign imported product over home-grown due to pricing.
The NFU has asked the government to ensure the production of home-grown food is supported. The government recently announced supply chain fairness reviews into both fresh produce and egg supply chains.