Simpson raises food sustainability concerns

Upper Bann MP David Simpson
Upper Bann MP David Simpson

The decline of Britain’s self-sufficiency in regards to food production over recent years has left the nation exposed to the volatility of global markets, according to David Simpson MP.

The Upper Bann representative also said it has made the UK more reliant on the need to import food.

Mr Simpson (pictured)said: “A recent calculation had Britain’s self-sufficiency rating at only 61%, a worrying 20% decline over the last 20 years. Surely this stagnation requires an urgent intervention from DEFRA to provide a policy for the industry that reverts this decline. We need our British Government to provide policies that support a dynamic and competitive industry.

“We cannot be reliant on other countries throughout the world being used to feed the people of the UK. Over recent weeks we have debated in the House of Commons the need for Trident and its role for National Security. What is more important than a country’s ability to feed its people.

“Last year, DEFRA committed to a 25 year plan for food and farming with emphasis on increasing food exports and opening new markets. I intend to meet with DEFRA representatives in the coming weeks and I will be seeking an update on this long term strategy. I have also requested to host a debate in the House of Commons on the sustainability of food across the UK.

“A vibrant and successful industry will improve our self-sufficiency which provides greater opportunities for British farmers and the industry as a whole. We must be very clear, that increasing our self-sufficiency is not an underhand attempt to shut relationships with other nations, it is simply a method of capitalising on the world class standard of British produce we have. Northern Ireland, with its world class farmers and food processing sector is already playing its part in supplying GB with food.”