UK Prime Minister hosts Farm to Fork Summit

Posted: 16 May 2023 | | No comments yet

Rishi Sunak will be meeting food industry actors at the UK Farm to Fork Summit to discuss growth and innovation opportunities for the food industry.


UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be meeting with food industry leaders at the UK Farm to Fork Summit on 16 May 2023 at Number 10 Downing Street to discuss the Government’s plans to support the farming sector.

The UK Government has said that the Summit will be a chance for food supply chain actors to come together to discuss ways to boost growth, drive innovation and improve sustainability in the industry.

The event comes following a commitment Sunak made in Summer 2022 to host and event to “back British farmers”. Fast forward to 2023, Sunak maintains his claim that he will “always back British farmers” and said that he “[pays] tribute to their hard work and dedication all year round which keeps shelves stocked and food on our tables.

“Supporting our farmers and food producers must, and always will be, at the heart of our plans to grow the economy and build a more prosperous country,” continued the Prime Minister.

The package

“Farmers will benefit from a commitment to protect their interests in future trade deals, support to boost domestic fruit and veg production and new investment in technologies, thanks to a package of support set out by the Prime Minister,” confirmed the UK Government in a statement.

What’s more, the UK Government has claimed that the package will “boost every element of the food supply chain, from farm to fork” and will work to “promote the UK’s world-renowned produce around the world to help boost British businesses and grow the economy”.

Leading up to the Summit, the UK Government implemented a range of measures “to help strengthen the long-term resilience and sustainability of the sector and provide greater stability for farmers following a difficult period”. 

Initiatives announced by the UK Government include:

  • A new framework for trade negotiations to protect the UK’s high food and welfare standards and prioritise new export opportunities that will reportedly put farmers’ interests “at the heart of trade policy”
  • A £2 million investment to boost the programme of global trade shows and missions, as well as a £1.6 million investment for the GREAT food and drink campaign.
  • Expanding the overseas network with five additional agri-food and drink attaches who will “spearhead the removal of restrictive market barriers”
  • Extending funding to promote seafood exports around the world with an additional £1 million between 2025 and 2028.
  • Making 45,000 visas available again to the horticulture sector for 2024 to enable the sector to “plan ahead for the picking season”.

To read the full list of initiatives included in the package, click here.

“I’m proud to host this summit, and working together, I’m determined to build resilience, strengthen our food security and champion the best of British at home and overseas,” noted Sunak.

MPs to carry out food supply chain analysis

Commenting on the importance of farmers in the UK’s food supply chain, Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), said: “Food production is the primary purpose of farming, and our world-leading farmers and food producers work tirelessly day-in-day-out to keep the nation fed, despite global challenges including the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

“I am delighted that today we have embarked on our next step to back British farmers and ensure a thriving food and drink sector which will see more British produce on supermarket shelves and plates both in the UK and across the globe.”

Meanwhile Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers Union (NFU), “welcomed the announcements”, stating that she is “absolutely delighted that the Prime Minister has honoured the commitments he made when he addressed our hustings event back in the Summer.

“These actions recognise the importance of coordinated action across government to support confidence, investment and growth in British food. We look forward to working with the Prime Minister, the Defra Secretary and the rest of the cabinet to Back British farming and bolster our domestic food security,” said Batters.

With much to discuss at the Summit, food industry professionals will have the chance to talk directly with the UK Government about the difficulties that the sector has faced in the last year, particularly in relation to import shortages and food inflation.

New Food will keep its readers updated with event feedback and how the industry will use the package to its advantage in the coming months.

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