Half of food in the UK to come from overseas if things don't change
There's a lot of hand-wringing going on about the UK's farmers this week. Research by the National Farmer's Union (NFU) have warned that around half of the nation's food will come from abroad by 2040. The fact it isn't already at that level might be news to some.
At the moment, around 60% of the food we consume in the UK is produced in Britain. In 25 years, it is thought that this will fall to 53% and that, but 2080, it'll be as low as 50%.
NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “Today’s report highlights the causes of the decline in self-sufficiency, including shifting and conflicting direction on European and UK farm policy. The stark choice for the next government is whether to trust the nation’s food security to volatile world markets or to Back British Farming and reverse the worrying trend in food production."
"I know what I want to happen. I want to see a robust plan for increasing the productive potential of farming, stimulating investment and ensuring that the drive to increase British food production is at the heart of every government department."
NFU vice president Guy Smith added: "Currently, farming grows most of the raw ingredients for Britain's food and drink industry - worth £97bn - which provides jobs for 3.5 million people across the country. With that in mind, the prospect of the UK becoming less than 50% self-sufficient should ring alarm bells across all political parties."
"Our burgeoning trade deficit in food and drink isn't just worrying in terms of food security, it also has important implications for jobs and general economic health."
There's a lot of support for British-produced goods, however, the biggest factor when it comes to consumer choices is, as it always was, price. That all said, the authorities aren't too worried about it.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said: "From farm to fork, our food industry is in good health - it generated a record £103bn for our economy last year, more than cars and aerospace combined."
"We are helping the industry become more competitive, at home and abroad, by opening up record numbers of international food markets to export our produce, making it easier for our schools and hospitals to buy local, helping consumers choose UK products through improved country-of-origin labelling, and investing in cutting-edge technology like GPS-guided tractors."