Click to contact us or call 02476 353537

EFRA Committee Report Backs UK Farming Potential


The UK has a moral duty to help grow food to feed a growing global population according to a national report out today. The NFU has praised the stance taken by the Efra Select Committee into UK Food Security, which saw evidence given by NFU President Peter Kendall.

The report says that although the UK should not aspire to be self-sufficient in food production, it should take advantage of its position to increase its contribution to help feed increasing populations across the world.

The report also echoes the NFUs calls for farming and growing to increase production while impacting less on the environment through advances in science. It calls on Defra to refocus its attention on food, to provide strategic leadership and lead the charge for a reversal in the real decline in publicly-funded research and development in production agriculture.

Commenting on today’s report, Mr Kendall said: This is a first rate report by the Efra committee with conclusions that echo much of our evidence. The Committee has not just recognised the important role that UK agriculture must play in meeting our own food needs, but also the role it should play in helping to feed the world. We can debate the extent to which world demand will grow, but as the report states, doing nothing to contribute to the worlds food supplies would be morally unacceptable.

Unfortunately until recently there has been a dismissive attitude within parts of government to the role of farmers in domestic production, let alone in the wider world. This has been partially allayed by a change of emphasis since last October and several helpful pronouncements by the Secretary of State. However I still see, all too often, government policy documents referring to gearing up UK production ‘in extremis’ as if it would be somehow reprehensible to see British production grow and thrive. I hope the government can put these fears to bed once and for all in its response.

In our evidence to the Committee we argued that any increase in production must be demand-driven. The priority is to create the conditions in which British agriculture can respond to growing demand, so it is heartening to see the Committee refer to building capacity rather than setting targets. What is more, any increase has to be environmentally sustainable. We do not believe that an increase in UK production needs come at an unacceptable environmental cost. But the key toproducing more while impacting less is science. These are major, strategic issues. That is why there is such an urgent need to substantially increase the budget for publicly-backed agricultural research that focuses on the UKs sustainableproduction potential and translating science into practice in the ground.

Finally, I am pleased that the Committee sees securing food supplies as a strategic issue that goes beyond a five year government cycle. At the NFU annual conference I made the point that just as climate change now transcends party politics, so too must food. This recommendation is crucial ahead of an inevitable general election next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * great opportunity to promote your business to our dedicated readership of farmers, landowners, estate managers and associated agricultural professionals.
Contact us today on 02476 353537 and let's work together to drive your business forward.