The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has launched a ‘five point plan’ for the UK government which it believes should be implemented to tackle the impacts of the Ukraine war and other factors on farmers, food producers and consumers.
FUW president Glyn Roberts highlighted that Russia’s war on Ukraine had exacerbated ongoing impacts caused by the pandemic and Brexit, causing major economic pressures for consumers and businesses and a global food emergency.
“Many of the global influences currently impacting us will be outside the control of UK governments, but there is nevertheless scope for significant actions that genuinely take our long term interests into consideration while also helping us in the short term,” said Roberts.
As global bodies such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank continue to warn of global food shortages, record high food prices and other factors that will lead to famine and political instability, food price inflation in the UK is predicted to reach 15% while inflation in UK farmers’ cost of production is close to 30%.
According to the FUW, the UK’s reliance on other countries for food has almost doubled since the mid 1980s, with 40% of UK food now imported compared with around 22% in the mid 1980s.
During the same period, the UK’s reliance on imports of ‘indigenous type food’ that can be produced in the UK has increased five fold, from 5% to 25%.
Roberts also highlighted the impact of fuel prices on consumers and businesses.
“Despite being less reliant on Russia than other countries for fuel, our fuel prices are nevertheless amongst the highest in Europe,” said Roberts.
“This at a time when disposable incomes in the UK have fallen drastically since 2007 compared with those in comparable European economies.”
Roberts said that the storm that has blown through UK politics during recent weeks and led to the resignation of Boris Johnson will not leave calm in its wake, and that the UK is still facing a tempest fuelled by Russia’s war on Ukraine, the after effects of the pandemic and the ongoing impacts of Brexit.
“When a new Prime Minister finally takes over in early September, the new broom will have more than just sweeping up to do.”