UK food should not be taken for granted, says NFU

A report warning of weaknesses in the UK food supply chain and challenges in securing food supplies in future has been backed by the NFU.

The report, by leading think tank Chatham House, warned increased input costs, market volatility and rising land prices meant UK food security was not assured.

Peter Kendall, NFU president, praised the report, ‘Food Futures: rethinking UK strategy’, for looking at the issue of domestic as well as global food supplies.

“A number of pressures, such as greater global competition, protectionism and a slow-down in agricultural productivity, mean the UK cannot afford to take its food supply for granted,” he said.

The decline in UK investment also raised real questions over the country’s ability to maintain agricultural research or to access global technologies to assist food production, he added.

“We agree with Chatham House that there is a need to extend to food supply the global awareness of risk and uncertainty that is embedded in security, defence and other sectors.

“We need better indicators of performance much like the early warning system for food production recommended by the NFU two years ago.”

Mr Kendall said the report was also hard evidence for a new standard in food retailing.

Echoing comments he made to Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy at the City Food Lecture last week (28 January), Mr Kendall said retailers should base relationships with producers on long-term strategies, not short-term competition and price cutting.

“I hope that, given the time, research and intellectual clout thrown behind this report, it will be given serious consideration by Government, policy makers and the whole food industry.”

See more