NFU Conference 2023: Food intelligence unit needed for food security challenge

The NFU is urging Defra to establish a food intelligence unit to monitor and inform ministers of current and future risks facing markets.

Under the proposal, the core of the unit would be led by government, with the ability to recruit advice from experts from within the farming industry and supply chain.

These experts would be able to help direct Defra’s use of its powers under the Agriculture Act to request the right data from the right sources and assess and advise on the implications for the supply chain for farmers, growers and consumers.

See also: NFU Conference 2023: ‘No join-up’ on food security across government

NFU head of food and farming Phil Hambling said: “We forecast very early on during the Ukraine crisis many of the problems that the supply chain is experiencing now.

“We see this as market failure as demonstrated by the gaps on supermarket shelves.

“Specifically in eggs and horticulture, we raised the alarm about this a long time ago. We need to learn the lessons and collaborate with Defra to avoid a repeat of these problems and provide stability for farmers and consumers.”

Farmers Weekly has requested a comment from Defra.