Warning over food production

The UK Government’s agriculture policy is pursuing a “chocolate box vision” of the countryside, with contradictory policies which are focused almost entirely on anything other than domestic food production.

That was the message given by English NFU president, Minette Batters when she opened the union’s AGM yesterday.

Highlighting the backdrop of an increasingly unstable global geo-political situation and the cost of living crises, Batters said that government policy focus had been on the reintroduction of species while the new support system appeared almost in opposition to food production.

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“What’s the plan for the food we eat? Where will we get it and at what price?”, she asked.

“Do we want and expect different things from our land than the rest of the world? A pretty park at home while we tuck into imported food produced in extremely intensive ways with huge environmental impact somewhere else?”

And she criticised Westminster for raising the bar for environmental standards at home while pursuing trade deals which supported lower standards overseas . . .

While claiming to value domestic food production but at the same time making it difficult to find workers to harvest or process it.

Food and environment should not be seen as competitors, said Batters.

She added: “They are partners. And our destiny as farmers depends on the political realisation of that simple fact.

"The reason I’ve had to underline in bold the importance of food production is that many don’t seem to realise how precarious our food system is.”

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