NFU calls for action six months on from Farm to Fork Summit

17 November 2023

NFU President Minette Batters stands in a blue coat, leaning on a hay bale

Six months on from the Farm to Fork Summit hosted by Number 101, the NFU has called for government to deliver on its promises to back British farming by ensuring fairness in food supply chains.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “Food security should always remain a top priority for any government. It is not just about sustaining farmers; it’s about safeguarding a fundamental part of our nation’s resilience and stability via a secure supply of homegrown food.

“Britain’s farmers and growers have faced a perfect storm of challenges in recent months, including crippling input costs, volatile supply chains and extreme weather events, against a backdrop of changes to farm support and agricultural policy. These have all created unsustainable levels of uncertainty and low confidence across the sector.

“After meeting with the new Defra Secretary of State Steve Barclay the day after his appointment this week, I pressed the need for urgent action on the vitally important sector reviews that are taking place. They must have tangible impact on the relationship with farmers and the supply chain. Currently farmers and growers bear the brunt of the risks and cost within the food supply chain and this is unsustainable for all involved.

“This reality is playing out in real time with a fractured sugar supply chain2 – an acute example of the burden put on primary producers. Meanwhile, other sectors such as dairy, eggs and horticulture remain under pressure as Defra conducts the promised supply chain investigations in each one.

“It has been six months since I sat down at the Farm to Fork summit3 with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and I appreciate the positive steps that have been made. We called for a national food security summit and a government commitment to work towards 60% self-sufficiency, both of which have happened, as well as the new agri-food attachés to help sell more British food abroad.

“But I have urged the new Secretary of State to ensure Defra’s supply chain reviews within the dairy, horticulture and poultry sectors deliver much-needed improvements to the operation, fairness and transparency for all farmers and growers, so we can continue what we do best – provide high-quality, climate-friendly food for the nation.”

Additional notes

  1. The Prime Minister held the UK’s first Farm to Fork Summit at Downing Street on 16th May 2023. A culmination of over a year’s worth of campaigning by the NFU, the summit aimed to discuss the vital measures needed to build resilience and transparency in the UK’s food supply chain.
  1. Read the NFU’s latest response to the sugar contract negotiations here and keep up to date with NFU Sugar here.
  2. Read the NFU’s reaction to the Farm to Fork Summit in May here and the government’s outcomes here.