Food security was high on the agenda at the start of the Women’s Food and Farming Union annual conference in Bridgend, South Wales.
President Ionwen Lewis called on the government to raise food security to the status of national priority in the conference programme.
She explained the conference title ‘Agriculture – are we all facing up to our responsibilities?’. It was chosen because there was now an opportunity to review responsibilities and prepare for change because of the need to produce more food for an ever- increasing world population.
“The agriculture industry is undergoing many changes and major decisions are being made that will affect us all and the future of farming”, she said. “Understanding the reasons for these changes may help us look to the future and where the changes are leading the industry”.
Most endangered: Farmer
Guest speaker at the pre conference dinner was writer, broadcaster, and Countryside Restoration Trust chairman Robin Page. He said food security in the UK had tumbled since 1997 and called for a living, working countryside, claiming the most endangered species of all was the farmer.
“I want to see farming, food, rural culture, the countryside, British food and its wildlife given the respect, given the encouragement and given the hope that it deserves because that is important too”, he said. “We have to offer people hope. We want young people coming into farming. We want to show them that they have an opportunity for the future, to live reasonable, prosperous, lives, looking after the land, producing food because that is what farming is about”.
He added that for him food security meant food grown in Britain: regional seasonable food. It was every bit as good as the French regional food that holidaymakers praise.