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Urgent action needed to reinstate carbon dioxide supplies

Urgent action is needed by government to demonstrate the value of UK food production amid CO2 shortages and resulting significant impacts on the supply chain.

An emergency summit of representatives from the UK’s food supply chain1 have called for urgent action from Government to reinstate vital food grade carbon dioxide supplies by bringing UK fertiliser plants back on stream.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “While it’s good to hear there may be an agreement in principle that production at the fertiliser factories may restart, with resulting CO2 supplies, it’s important this restart is meaningful and sustained. Users of carbon dioxide were given little to no warning that supplies were going to be cut off – an indication of market failure in a sector supporting our critical national infrastructure. Urgent clarity is needed on the detail, including timings and volumes established in the agreement.”

Carbon dioxide supplies are of critical importance in the food industry, which includes:

  • Protecting animal welfare in processing
  • Avoiding knock on impacts on farm
  • Maintaining production of glasshouse fruit and vegetables to avoid mothballing production

Mrs Batters added: “The UK food supply chain has so far done a fantastic job keeping our shelves full but these past few days have highlighted starkly the fragility in the supply chain. It is something government must not take for granted and I want us to use this moment to ensure we all understand what’s at stake.

“Last week at Back British Farming Day we repeated our ask for government to place the same value on British food and its production standards as the British people do. We are currently 60% self-sufficient in food and our current situation demonstrates the need for strategic policies that bolster domestic food production. Food shortages are a clear and present danger which ministers must work urgently with the whole supply chain to avoid.

“I want to work with government and the rest of the UK supply chain to learn the lessons from what we have seen this week to not only maintain our domestic food production but to have an ambition for growth and safeguard Britain’s food security.”

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