As the very first food summit of its kind, this has been a culmination of over a year’s worth of work and campaigning by the NFU, who asked the Prime Minister to convene the whole supply chain together to discuss the vital measures needed to build resilience and transparency from farm to fork and strengthen productivity.
This work and campaigning has included:
- Writing letters to both candidates for the Conservative party leadership election in August 2022, calling for food security to be taken seriously across Whitehall.
- Holding hustings events with the candidates and NFU members, where Prime Minister Rishi Sunak committed to monitoring food self-sufficiency and hold a food summit if he was elected.
- Securing the recruitment of eight new agri-food attachés overseas which will help drive exports of British food abroad and break down barriers in a number of countries.
- Convening an emergency press conference calling for fairness for farmers and growers and asking government to investigate whether an exceptional market conditions declaration should be made given the empty shelves seen in supermarkets.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Prime Minister has delivered on the commitment he made to NFU members last year to host this summit. The number of Cabinet Ministers present shows the ambition for cross-departmental coordination to deliver measures to boost home-grown food production. Many of the farmers and growers I represent will be relieved to see UK food security being taken seriously by the government.
“The announcements made today show a recognition and an understanding of the strategic importance of British food and farming to the nation. And the actions recognise the importance of coordinated action across government to support confidence, investment and growth in British food.
“What we need now is to build on these announcements. We are calling for a set of core agri-food import standards for trade. Whilst it is pleasing government is looking to maintain self-sufficiency at 60%, we believe there’s an opportunity to produce much more of our own food here. We can and should be more ambitious and look to move beyond this target. Vitally, the Farm to Fork Summit should become an annual event, as our food supply is part of the UK’s national infrastructure and will ensure that food security never drops down the political agenda, across all parties, again.”