Rising population will hit UK’s self sufficiency if government continues to ignore British food production, say NFU.
More than half of the UK’s food will come from overseas within a generation, as a rising population and stalling farm productivity combine to erode what remains of the UK’s self-sufficiency, according to farming leaders.
The UK’s failure to produce more food will leave households more vulnerable to volatile prices and potential shortages, the National Farmers’ Union will say at its annual conference on Tuesday. The farming body will call on politicians to encourage new investment in farming, and develop a national plan for a higher degree of food self-sufficiency.
Meurig Raymond, president of the NFU, warned: “The stark choice for the next government is whether to trust the nation’s food security to volatile world markets or to back British farming and reverse the worrying trend in food production. I want to see a robust plan for increasing the productive potential of farming, stimulating investment and ensuring that the drive to increase British food production is at the heart of every government department.”
The NFU cited “poorly crafted regulation”, including EU and UK policies that have “over-emphasised environmental rather than production outcomes and complicated the busienss of farming”, and farmers having weak bargaining power with big retailers as key problems affecting agriculture.
Farmers meeting in Birmingham are expected to demand more attention from politicians ahead of the general election, when rural votes could play an important role in deciding the make-up of the next government. The Conservatives dominate in rural areas, but many key Liberal Democrat constituencies have a farming base.