Farming unions urge government to prioritise food security

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At the annual UK farming unions summit today (22 March) hosted by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) at the Lough Erne Resort, Co. Fermanagh, UFU, NFU, NFU Scotland and NFU Cymru, alongside the IFA, stressed the need for governments to back farming and food production.

Commenting UFU president David Brown said: “To safeguard our nation’s food security we need to build profitability and resilience into our farm businesses. This requires a closer partnership between farmers and politicians, so we can continue to produce the high-quality food that consumers expect, while delivering for the environment and economy.

Proposals around a new farming scheme are presently being consulted on within Wales, which is causing huge concern and unrest amongst Welsh famers. Many farmers fear that the proposals, as they stand, are unworkable and unless a different approach is taken these plans will severely impact the ambitions of the sector and its viability. We stand in support of our Welsh colleagues as they look to develop alternative approaches.

"Across the UK there needs to be a balanced approach at a policy level, not just to look at the environmental side of agriculture, but at the economic and social consequences of agricultural production. Farmers cannot be sacrificed for other societal objectives. They are essential to both a healthy world and a healthy population.

UK farming unions’ presidential representatives, NFU Cymru deputy president Abi Reader, NFU president Tom Bradshaw, UFU president David Brown and NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy. Pic: McAuley MultimediaUK farming unions’ presidential representatives, NFU Cymru deputy president Abi Reader, NFU president Tom Bradshaw, UFU president David Brown and NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy. Pic: McAuley Multimedia
UK farming unions’ presidential representatives, NFU Cymru deputy president Abi Reader, NFU president Tom Bradshaw, UFU president David Brown and NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy. Pic: McAuley Multimedia

“Investing in our farming and growing sector is essential for productivity, job creation, and economic and environmental delivery. This year we will see where all UK parties stand on support for local agriculture. Food security must be a top priority for any government and we need unwavering commitment for local farming and food production from all UK parties.

“Processors, retailers and the food service sector also need to get behind domestic food production. We need them to help us to achieve fairness in the supply chain and not to undermine our market. Consumers have recently been very clear in communicating this at retail level having made the distinction between local and imported food which our farmers appreciate greatly.

“Other key discussion points included labour, trade standards, TB, new agricultural support policies, land tenure and environmental targets. All are critical issues going forward for both the UK and Ireland. We will continue to work together to navigate these challenging times and grasp the opportunities, ensuring a sustainable and viable agricultural industry going forward.”