The UK’s food sustainability will be strengthened if the Government does more to back British farming – this is the assertion from the NFU’s deputy president who is urging politicians to get behind producers.
Minette Batters was speaking at the British Science Festival recently when she stressed the important role British farmers can play in securing the country’s domestic food supply for the future, during a debate on food sustainability.
As an industry that provides the raw ingredients for the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, food and drink, maintains 70% of the nation’s landscape and provides jobs for 3.8 million people, it can play a vital role post-Brexit, according to the NFU.
Britain currently produces just 60% of its own food and this figure is in long-term decline.
“The role of food in this country has long been overlooked by successive Governments and it is time that we recognise its importance to the nation and its people, particularly as we move towards Brexit,” says Batters.
“Farming underpins much of the nation including the food and drink sector, rural communities and the countryside. It is vital that this contribution is recognised in Brexit negotiations.
“The NFU is keen for the farming sector to explore the benefits of trade but we can take advantage of the fantastic skills in the farming sector and build on those. A policy of continuously buying in food that we can produce within our own shores risks undermining the work of British farmers.”
She also said how the NFU is calling on Government to deliver policies to ensure the UK becomes more self-sufficient and supports home-grown food.
“Farmers can be part of the solution for a wide-range of issues beyond food including caring for the environment, fighting climate change and embracing green energy,” adds Batters.