On Tuesday 8 November, Minette presented her evidence to the EFRA committee, which is made up of a cross-party group of MPs, focussing on how rising production costs are affecting the food supply chain and what the government can do to improve UK food security.
Minette outlined why “food should sit at the heart of government along with energy security” and welcomed the commitments Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made to hold an annual food security summit to look at the UK's domestic food security during the summer at the NFU's Conservative Leadership Husting.
A tale of two halves
“It is an extraordinary situation and certainly whomever I speak to says they’ve never witnessed anything like this at any time in living memory,” Minette explained.
“It’s a story very much of two halves. The intensive sectors are facing a real hammering at the moment with avian influenza, and the national pig herd is one third smaller than what it was. Growers are also facing huge challenges with access to labour but also rising energy costs, rising wage costs, the impact from the war in Ukraine and huge volatility in general in the gas market.”
Contraction forecasts for 2023
Minette detailed the results from the NFU's intentions survey work which demonstrates that farmers' plans show contraction for the year ahead, citing the example of tomatoes and cucumbers being at their lowest levels since records began in 1985.
Rounding off the session, Minette noted appreciation for the government's Energy Bill Relief scheme but stressed the need for further detail into how to drive down inflation, so that we can come together "and put our arms around production collectively."