NFU warns that time is running out for UK food security action

Field with a tractor

The president of the National Farmers' Union has stated that time is running out for the government to safeguard the domestic food supply.

According to Minette Batters, farmers are still suffering from labor shortages, high costs, the effects of climate change, and political unrest around the world.

On the opening day of the NFU annual conference, she issues a warning.

According to a government spokesman, the policy ensures environmentally friendly farming practices and sustainable food production.

According to Mrs. Batters, agricultural costs have increased by nearly 50% since 2019 and UK egg production has dropped to its lowest point in nine years due to the severe impact of the largest bird flu outbreak ever.

She urged the nation to "never take our food security for granted.".

Any government should base its agricultural policy on three pillars, according to Mrs. Batters, in order for the farming sector to be prosperous. "They are increasing output, safeguarding the environment, and controlling volatility.

"However, time is running out. The clock is ticking for the government to begin making the promises it has made meaningful, concrete, and effective. ".

The NFU has previously issued warnings that many farms have reduced production in an effort to reduce losses caused by high energy and inflation costs, which could jeopardize domestic food security and supply.

Abi Reader, the deputy president of NFU Cymru, told BBC News that there might be fewer options for British foods on supermarket shelves.

There are sheds that are vacant but could be growing vegetables and fruit, she claimed.

"There are empty sheds that need to be occupied by poultry to lay eggs, but the food isn't getting through the system.

"Our costs are rapidly rising. These rising input costs are so high that farmers can't afford them. Some of this is because of the conflict in Ukraine, and some of it is because we are still adjusting to life after Brexit.

Businesses are producing less than they used to because banks are concerned about lending, so people have simply reduced their spending. ".

In a pre-recorded message, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will speak at the conference on "Feeding a changing world" on Tuesday.

An official from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs stated: "The government has committed to maintaining the £2 point 4 billion annual farming budget which will support farmers to become more productive and profitable. Supporting British farmers and our rural communities is at the heart of the government's manifesto.

"Our new farming policies, which we outlined in great detail last month, ensure that environmental protection and sustainable food production go hand in hand, with options available for all types of farmers. Farmer organizations and farmers have welcomed this. ".

In the upcoming election, Mrs. Batters predicted that "the rural vote will be crucial," and she vowed to "not let the opposition off the hook either.".

The conference will also hear from Labour leader Keir Starmer, who has pledged to defend British food standards and improve farmers' trade relations with the EU.

The government claimed that through its trade agreements, UK farmers and food producers would gain access to new markets abroad while maintaining high standards for food safety and animal welfare.

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