NFU warns Britain could run out of food after a hard Brexit
The report suggests that, should the nation be fed solely on British food from the beginning of the year, supplies would run bare by the 7th August.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has delivered a blunt statement urging the British government to put food security at the top of the political agenda, warning of the vulnerability of the country’s food supplies post-Brexit.
The report suggests that, should the nation be fed solely on British food from the beginning of any given year, as the situation currently stands supplies would run out by 7 August . Defra figures from 2017 show that the UK produced only 60 per cent of its own food, with the figure being in long term decline.
The NFU president Minette Batters said that food self-sufficiency statistics have always been an important measure of the nation’s ability to feed itself, and with only eight months until Brexit, she said it ‘shines a new light’ on British food supplies.
“British food production has been pulled into sharp focus in recent weeks, with farmers across the country wrangling with the impacts of unprecedented dry and hot weather,” said Batters.
“This has been a real test for [the] Government to show the farmers and the many concerned members of the public that they think that our ability to produce food in this country is truly important.”
She went on to say that every British citizen is entitled to a “safe, traceable and high quality” supply of British food. The NFU states that farmland covers 70 per cent of the nation, and with schemes in place such as Red Tractor, British food is produced to some of the highest standards in the world.
“Home-grown food production must have the unwavering support of [the] Government if we are to achieve this post-Brexit,” she said.
“While we recognise the need for importing food which can only be produced in different climates, if we maximise on the food that we can produce well in the UK then that will deliver a whole host of economic, social and environmental benefits to the country.”
The NFU warns that the UK farming sector could be one of the most impacted areas from a no-deal Brexit deal, and is pushing for the government to provide a ‘free and frictionless’ trade deal with the EU, continuing access to a reliable and competent workforce for farm businesses.
“As we replace the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, we must keep a sharp focus on what productive, progressive and profitable farm businesses need from a domestic agricultural policy.”