The NFU has said that warnings of a food price increase next year add gravitas to the need for strong, secure and viable domestic food production. Leading retail commentators have suggested that the nation’s reliance on imported food, combined with the low value of sterling, will result in higher food prices.
Meurig Raymond, NFU President, said that these warnings demonstrate the danger of being increasingly reliant on imported foods. “The nation’s self-sufficiency in food is falling. Whilst we could not and would not want to be entirely self-sufficient, [these] warnings demonstrate the potential impacts of becoming more and more reliant on the rest of the world to feed us, especially in these times of volatility. Britain currently produces 61% of the food it needs to feed itself. Some sectors, like horticulture, are much worse.
“Not only do Britain’s farmers play a vital role in feeding the nation, British farming can be the solution to so many other issues after Brexit. Farming is the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing industry – food and drink – which is worth £108 billion and employs 3.9 million people. Along with food self-sufficiency, the economic importance of the farming sector and its role as a key employer is why we have to ensure that British food and farming has a viable and resilient future. Our focus now is to make sure retailers, food service [providers] and food processors, as well as MPs and shoppers, back British farming.”