The nation is at high risk of a food crisis if the government does not act fast and support British farmers, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU) new vice president, David Exwood.
Speaking at the Royal Bath & West Show on Thursday (June 2) he stressed that the closeness of war and the threat of a global food crisis are being compounded as consumption continues to climb.
“We don’t know what a food crisis is going to look like or what shape it might take,” he said.
“But we know that food doesn’t come out of thin air and it’s a hard thing to produce - now we have the perfect storm of global production problems and political crisis.
“Food security and strategic supply matters. It’s unlikely we’re going to run out of food on the shelves but what will be available, and the price of it, we still don’t really know.”
Farming in the current climate of volatility and uncertainty is challenging – heightened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said Exwood.
“The serious war in Europe has changed the landscape. We have to think about those farmers and what people are going through not so very far away.”
Serious discussion around the food production challenges appears to be in its infancy at Number 10, he warned.
Extraordinary inflation, historic price rises, and volatility are increasing risk and pressure on farmers, economically and emotionally.
“The risk of farming is greater than ever and that has created a great deal of uncertainty – farmers certainly don’t feel very confident.”
The Government’s U-turn on its farming stance has caused frustration.
“Three or four years ago Michael Gove said that food was not a public good, it wasn’t the business of the Government, that it was all about the environment,” he said.
“The NFU has lobbied, and while there is now a farming policy, there is still a long way to go.
"In this country we have targets for the environment and biodiversity, and we have a strategy for energy production - but we have nothing for food; yet.
"There is nothing to balance out those two huge forces and keep food production central, and that is a problem.”