News Sustainable Farming Campaign

Prime Minister announces annual food security index and conference

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a package of measures aimed at the farming community today as he spoke to the National Farmers' Union conference. 

Orchard. Credit: Pexels

Orchard. Credit: Pexels

The Prime Minister's announcements included:

  • a new food security index
  • an annual food security event (modelled on last year's Farm to Fork summit)
  • a £220 million package of funding for "future-focused technology and productivity schemes"
  • the intention to relax regulations on permitted development rights so farmers can develop buildings and diversify their incomes
  • dairy sector supply chain regulations to be laid before Parliament

  • pig supply chain regulations to come later this year with the egg and poultry sectors to follow

The government press notice says that the new food security index "will capture and present the key data needed to monitor how we are maintaining our current levels of food security across the country and is expected to be UK-wide."

This was the final NFU Conference as President for Minette Batters who sent a strong message to food retailers about addressing the issues of supply chain unfairness, describing it as 'a culture of fear'.

Minette Batters: “You have a duty to your farmers and growers.They have a right to earn a fair price for what they produce, for you to sell. This means the culture at the top of food retail has to change.”

She also answered questions on reform of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and called for the development of KPIs within the supplier framework, and the embedding of supplier fairness rules within company ESG guidelines. (As reported by the Grocer £)

Sustain's farming co-ordinator Will White said:

"Food security and a healthy natural world are indivisible. Defra’s own Food Security Report identifies climate change and biodiversity loss as the greatest threats to UK food security. The UK is already one of the most nature depleted countries on earth, and without healthy soils and thriving pollinators, farmers cannot produce the food we need and become increasingly reliant on expensive fertilisers and inputs. 

"But farmers receive a very poor deal for their produce - often less than 1p of the profit. That leaves them in a very stressful situation, often without the the means to make a living and, for too many, without the resources to transition to more nature and climate friendly farming. Our farmers deserve a better deal and to be rewarded for sustainable food production that works in harmony with nature."

To read more about food security and agroecology, please read Will White's blog 'Food Security must be based on agroecology'.


Published Tuesday 20 February 2024

Sustainable Farming Campaign: Sustain encourages integration of sustainable food and farming into local, regional and national government policies.

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