NFU rebuts Telegraph claims that cheap imports benefit food security

NFU President Tom Bradshaw pictured outdoors

NFU President Tom Bradshaw says the Telegraph article, claiming British farmers have benefitted from higher global food prices, shows a need for an “urgent lesson in how the UK’s food supply chains work”.

In the article – Cheap food is more important than protecting failing farmers – Mr Lesh suggests that British farmers’ calls for fairness in the supply chain as unjust, describing claims that farmers are being undercut by lower quality produce from abroad as “absurd”.

The article suggests that closed-minded attitudes to international trade will hurt British consumers and harm food security.

We have written to The Telegraph, explaining the reality of the food supply chain and the reasoning behind our asks for the formation of a core standards commission that will ensure our farmers and growers are competing on a level playing field.

Read the letter below:

To the editor,

I am not sure where columnist Mr. Lesh buys his weekly shop, but here in the UK we already have some of the cheapest food in the world relative to income. Previous generations spent over a third of their income on food, we now only spend around 11%.

The notion that farmers have been benefitting from higher global food prices shows the need for an urgent lesson in how the UK’s food supply chains work. Retail price increases rarely make their way back to farmers and growers which is why we have been beating the drum for fairness in the supply chain for many years.

Mr. Lesh also suggests that British farmers aren’t facing being undercut by lower standard imports, but there are currently no standards in place to safeguard farming business from imports that would be illegal to produce here. That is why, alongside the WWF, we have written to the three main political parties in England to call for the formation of a core standards commission.

With war and climate change wreaking havoc on food production across the world, does Mr. Lesh really believe we can feed our nation, and a growing global population, by relying on imports?

British farmers are not failing. They produce food for the nation to some of the highest standards in the world and have an ambition to produce more. But farms need to make a profit to invest in their businesses to continue producing food we need the right regulatory framework to do that. This must be a priority for government because our food security depends on it.

Tom Bradshaw

NFU President

The full article can be found at:

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