Farmers have warned that almost half of Britain’s food is expected to come from abroad by 2040.
NFU vice president Guy Smith said:
“Currently, farming grows most of the raw ingredients for Britain’s food and drink industry – worth £97bn – which provides jobs for 3.5 million people across the country.
“With that in mind, the prospect of the UK becoming less than 50% self-sufficient should ring alarm bells across all political parties.
“Our burgeoning trade deficit in food and drink isn’t just worrying in terms of food security; it also has important implications for jobs and general economic health.”
Farmers warn that it won’t be long before most our food comes from abroad.
Meurig Raymond, president of the NFU, warned:
“The stark choice for the next government is whether to trust the nation’s food security to volatile world markets or to back British farming and reverse the worrying trend in food production.”
“I want to see a robust plan for increasing the productive potential of farming, stimulating investment and ensuring that the drive to increase British food production is at the heart of every government department.”
Since the 1980s self-sufficiency in food in the UK has dropped drastically. In the mid 1980s around 80% of food was grown here, now only 60% of it is.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said:
“From farm to fork, our food industry is in good health – it generated a record £103bn for our economy last year, more than cars and aerospace combined.
“We are helping the industry become more competitive, at home and abroad, by opening up record numbers of international food markets to export our produce, making it easier for our schools and hospitals to buy local, helping consumers choose UK products through improved country-of-origin labelling, and investing in cutting-edge technology like GPS-guided tractors.”