MPs join sector in call for more UK produce to aid food security

MPs and grower representatives have called for more home-produced fruit and vegetables to improve food security and combat climate change.

Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board chairman John Bridge spoke of a "perfect storm" of coincidences, such as climate change and economic turmoil, that made managing food security more difficult.

"We can't take food security for granted. We are on the edge of a new population food paradigm. For 60 years supply kept up with, or ahead of, population growth, but that relationship will be reversed."

He was speaking at the launch of Feeding Britain, a report by industry leaders for the Smith Institute think-tank. The document highlighted "distinct opportunities" to increase fruit and vegetable production in the next 20 to 30 years.

Council of Food Policy Advisers chairman Dame Suzi Leather told the conference: "We are haunted by the spectre of the Common Agricultural Policy, and overproduction has been appalling. But, looked at through the lens of food security, we should be very concerned about some of our production levels. Only 10 per cent of our fruit is produced nationally and that is a disgrace."

Shadow environment secretary Nick Herbert said: "Nudging the pendulum back towards domestic production is not the same thing as 100 per cent self-sufficiency. But it will help to improve our resilience.

"It's not about central targets or ushering in re-intensification of agriculture. But increasing our productive capacity can't be about retreating to protectionism: we need more trade, not less.

"Trade liberalisation will affect producers, but the current approach - expecting farmers to operate in a free market but hampering their ability to compete - is an untenable half-way house.

"Rules need to be based on outcomes and processes, he said. They needed to encourage a fairer relationship between suppliers and supermarkets, and guard against domination by monopolies."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

What challenges and opportunities lie in store for tomato growers?

What challenges and opportunities lie in store for tomato growers?

The British Tomato Growers Association (TGA) conference today (21 September) heard a range of perspectives on what changes lie in store for the sector and how to anticipate them.

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

As the British apple season begins, English Apples & Pears (EAP) is warning that growers will feel the effects of both a late frost in spring and also constrained labour supply.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon