Climate Action

NFU urges the Government to “put words into action” and take domestic food production seriously

NFU insists that the UK’s self-sufficiency doesn’t drop below its current level of 60%

  • 15 August 2023
  • Press Release

NFU insists that the UK’s self-sufficiency doesn’t drop below its current level of 60%

The National Farmers Union is warning the government that it needs to take domestic food production seriously and ensure food is given the same focus and political prioritisation as the environment.

In a year which has already seen UK agri-food inflation rise to 19.2%, and global instability caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine, the recent bouts of extreme weather are further highlighting the frailties of the UK’s food system.

Defra statistics for 2022 showed the UK is 60% self-sufficient in all foods. NFU President Minette Batters has called on the Prime Minister to “put words into action” and introduce legislation to “ensure the UK’s self-sufficiency does not drop below its current level of 60%”.

In 2023, the UK has had the driest February since 1993, the hottest June on record and then unseasonal heavy rain which persisted throughout most of July and early August.

“I have never known such volatility in the global food system,” NFU President Minette Batters said.

“Climate change is wreaking havoc on food production across the world, with farmers in Southern Europe literally fighting fires while farmers here are despairing as they now must spend thousands of pounds to dry sodden grain. At the same time, the conflict in Ukraine is putting pressure on the global grain market.”

Research shows the recent ending of the Black Sea grain initiative has caused more uncertainty for the global crop market and could generate large movements in grain prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Minette added: “Ongoing inflation of input costs such as energy and fertiliser have meant that, for many farmers and growers, this year has already been incredibly expensive to produce food and now the weeks of wet weather mean more money is needed to dry the harvest that’s being gathered.

The 9th of August marked the point at which we would run out of food if we only had access to UK produce, the NFU are highlighting the need for the UK to be able produce more of its own food at home.

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