Last Tuesday marked the second Farm to Fork Summit at No 10. As well as being a public demonstration from the prime minister that British food production is high on the political agenda, behind the closed doors it was a chance to discuss strategic opportunities for the future and barriers to growth.

First and foremost, it was great to hear the prime minister talking about food security as an important part of our national security. This is something we’re starting to hear from all political parties, and I’m glad they are finally recognising the role we play in sustaining our country.

As farmers, we must take the wins when we get them. So it was fantastic to know this now annual event was happening because of NFU lobbying ahead of the Conservative leadership election in 2022.

But of course, a public show of support by itself isn’t enough. We need actions and policies that underpin that support and I stressed that point to the prime minister.

The breakout sessions – focused on growing resilience, innovation, economic contribution and the next generation – were also really constructive. I co-chaired the session around growing resilience, which had the secretary of state and industry stakeholders, farmers and supply chain representatives around the table.

The underlying theme of this discussion was, unsurprisingly, confidence.

The stark results of the NFU’s confidence survey, which showed a crisis of confidence amongst farmers, were fresh in everyone’s minds. So it was clear from the roundtable that rebuilding confidence was a critical step to increasing resilience.

The group also identified key areas that would help boost confidence in the sector – not least policy certainty, investment in infrastructure, the promotion of farming as a favourable career and better on-farm data to boost productivity.

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While the announcements and themes discussed on the day rightly looked ahead and considered the long-term needs and ambitions within the food and farming sector, a lot of the conversations around resilience kept coming back to short-term confidence.

For example, the launch of the UK Food Security Index and measures to boost the production of British fruit and vegetables are long-standing asks of the NFU. They were very welcome, but we cannot forget many of our members are facing an acute short-term crisis after the wettest 18 months since 1836.

It was important that the prime minister understood the very real risk here. We’ve already lost more than 8,000 agricultural businesses since 2019. That’s why we need short-term solutions alongside the long-term strategic policies to help manage cashflow issues that are threatening our ability to feed ourselves. I believe that message was made loud and clear.

There is more to do. But it would be wrong of me to imply it’s all down to the government – the supply chain has a responsibility here too.

There are currently multiple reviews underway or promised for the horticulture, eggs and poultry meat supply chains. While we urge the government to complete these as quickly as possible, I also believe each part of our supply chains should be looking at how they can support greater fairness and transparency.

A supply chain that shares risk and reward will lead to greater business confidence and a more resilient food system, benefiting us all and our customers too.

I’m also aware that, in a general election year, the buck doesn’t stop with the current government. Because the challenges we’re facing now – a changing climate, geo-political tensions, global market volatility, and changing agricultural policy at home – are not going away any time soon.

All parties need to be backing up their positive words about food security being a part of national security with policies that enable the development of thriving and productive farming and growing businesses – ones that drive our rural economies.

Because if we are to continue to provide high-quality, sustainable and affordable food for the nation, we need stability that enables us to build resilient, profitable food-producing businesses in a volatile and changing world.