Defra has published its first United Kingdom Food Security Report, under a new duty in the Agriculture Act 2020 to report to Parliament on food security in the United Kingdom at least once every three years.
The report shows 54 per cent self sufficiency in fresh vegetables, and 71 per cent in potatoes, but just 16 per cent in fresh fruit, adding that these proportions have remained fairly stable over the last ten years. According to the data, ‘In 2020, 93% of domestic consumption of fresh vegetables was fulfilled by domestic and EU production, while fruit supply was more widely spread across the EU, Africa, the Americas, and the UK.’
It also pointed out the effects of seasonality on some products: ‘Other seasonal effects for some products reflect the UK growing season. Imports of lettuce come almost exclusively from the EU during the autumn and winter, whilst domestic production reduces trade in the spring and summer, as shown in the large dip in imports during those months. For many products seasonality is less marked. For example, tomatoes can be produced year-round, including in greenhouses in the UK but domestic production capacity is far below total demand and is supplemented throughout the year by imports.’
The data shows that domestic production of fresh vegetables and potatoes has fallen since 1990, while fruit production has remained fairly constant.