First Farm to Fork Summit gives optimistic outlook for UK meals safety, NFU says

The primary Farm to Fork Summit held at Quantity 10 Downing Road gives a optimistic outlook for UK meals safety and demonstrates that home self-sufficiency is again on the political agenda, the NFU has stated.

Because the very first meals summit of its type, this has been a fruits of over a yr’s value of labor and campaigning by the NFU, who requested the Prime Minister to convene the entire provide chain collectively to debate the important measures wanted to construct resilience and transparency from farm to fork and strengthen productiveness.

This work and campaigning has included:

  • Writing letters to each candidates for the Conservative get together management election in August 2022, calling for meals safety to be taken severely throughout Whitehall. 
  • Holding hustings occasions with the candidates and NFU members, the place Prime Minister Rishi Sunak dedicated to monitoring meals self-sufficiency and maintain a meals summit if he was elected.
  • Securing the recruitment of eight new agri-food attachés abroad which is able to assist drive exports of British meals overseas and break down obstacles in quite a few nations. 
  • Convening an emergency press convention calling for equity for farmers and growers and asking authorities to analyze whether or not an distinctive market circumstances declaration must be made given the empty cabinets seen in supermarkets.

NFU president Minette Batters stated: “I’m completely delighted that the Prime Minister has delivered on the dedication he made to NFU members final yr to host this summit. The variety of Cupboard Ministers current reveals the ambition for cross-departmental coordination to ship measures to spice up home-grown meals manufacturing. Lots of the farmers and growers I signify can be relieved to see UK meals safety being taken severely by the federal government.

“The bulletins made right this moment present a recognition and an understanding of the strategic significance of British meals and farming to the nation. And the actions recognise the significance of coordinated motion throughout authorities to help confidence, funding and progress in British meals.

“What we want now’s to construct on these bulletins. We’re calling for a set of core agri-food import requirements for commerce. While it’s pleasing authorities is trying to preserve self-sufficiency at 60%, we imagine there’s a chance to provide rather more of our personal meals right here. We will and must be extra formidable and look to maneuver past this goal. Vitally, the Farm to Fork Summit ought to develop into an annual occasion, as our meals provide is a part of the UK’s nationwide infrastructure and can make sure that meals safety by no means drops down the political agenda, throughout all events, once more.”

BPC response

BPC chief govt, Richard Griffiths, stated: “We welcome Authorities re-engaging with meals points at a time it issues greater than ever. It’s optimistic that we see recognition of the world-class manufacturing requirements our members function to, mixed with a concentrate on overcoming commerce obstacles. It is a good start line to be working from.

“Poultry is half the meat the nation eats. There are nonetheless points requiring Authorities to flex much-needed management, notably in the direction of distinctive market circumstances. We stay up for listening to extra element and persevering with our work with Authorities to make sure honest and resilient provide chains, the place our members “have what they want” to fulfil their position in society.”

In current weeks BPC has highlighted the influence rising manufacturing prices pose to nationwide meals safety, the place focusing solely on maintaining meals reasonably priced with out a honest worth for producers or sturdy mechanisms to help enterprise viability is forcing manufacturing to cut back.

Griffiths added: “As we speak’s commitments should result in actual tangible change, the place ‘meals safety’ interprets into significant targets that help British poultry meat producers in guaranteeing secure, reasonably priced, nutritious, low influence meals. As we speak has been a vital first step in the direction of constructing efficient options with trade colleagues to prioritise a sustainable meals system for all. We should now make sure that this doesn’t pivot right into a sidestep across the large points we’re ready for extra element on.”

Scotland perspective

Talking after attending the summit, NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy stated: “This summit have to be considered by the UK Authorities as the beginning of an annual course of that recognises the significance of home meals manufacturing and places sturdy measures in place to make sure the entire meals provide chain, from farm to fork, takes optimistic steps to handle the numerous shortfalls that we presently see across the nation’s meals safety.

“I commend the Prime Minister for guaranteeing that each one these with a stake in delivering sustainable and clear meals provide chains had been current – farmers, processors, main retailers, Cupboard Ministers and Secretaries of State – giving this the potential to be a serious stepping stone.  That momentum should not be misplaced, and progress have to be frequently reviewed.

“The occasion introduced a pointy concentrate on the significance of home manufacturing and the necessity for change.  All within the room wanted to understand that current occasions, together with empty grocery store cabinets, signifies that meals can not be produced for costs which can be under the price of manufacturing.

“The answer is evident.  When you’re trying to safe home meals manufacturing, it begins by supporting the first producer within the face of rising enter prices and unstable output costs, poorly negotiated commerce agreements and provide chain inequities.

“The dedication to a wider, accelerated use of the UK Agriculture Act to ship equity and fairness in horticultural and egg provide chains, constructing on the work began on pigs and dairy, is one thing for us to welcome and pursue.

“The summit additionally offered a chance to boost the massive challenges we proceed to face. A dedication that the 45,000 seasonal employee visas obtainable this season might be prolonged is welcome, however our growers want long run dedication from the UK Authorities to this scheme to permit them to plan forward.  It additionally stays massively disappointing that our farmers and growers is not going to profit from the very best ranges of aid on vitality regardless of the massive prices now related to rearing, rising and storing produce.  That call must be reversed or farmers and growers will merely lower manufacturing to restrict losses and our meals safety will deteriorate, undermining the quantity of fine work right this moment’s summit achieved.”

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