Shropshire NFU meeting hears call for food security commitment
Shropshire farmers heard it was unacceptable to “offshore” the country’s food supply and clear commitments were needed to keep the nation fed.
Around 90 farmers and industry representatives heard from NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw at the Wroxeter Hotel, near Shrewsbury, at the county annual general meeting.
He discussed the need to safeguard the domestic food supply with a General Election looming in 2024 and said, given the damage caused by Storm Babet and Storm Ciaran, that it required policy that ‘protects from flooding and prioritises river maintenance’.
Farmers heard ‘food production issues across the world, extreme climate events and geopolitical instability showed the fragility of food supply chains’.
Mr Bradshaw said: “We need a future Government to commit to food security and be practical and realistic about the policies that underpin it.
“Fairness in the supply chain is something we need to strive for but we have to be realistic about it and if there is a public commitment it’s easier to hold politicians to account.
“Shropshire farmers and those across the country have to have enough money to reinvest in their businesses for the future.
“If that profitability is not delivered and those supply chains are not functioning properly all we will do is offshore food production to other parts of the world - out of sight out of mind is simply not acceptable.”
He said a strong plan for food production and a Government commitment on how to feed more than 70 million people living in the country was needed.
“Imports will always be part of that and they should be, but there needs to be a plan as to how we are going to provide our population with high quality, sustainable British food because having that is simply a key foundation of society,” he said.
“Politicians should not just take it for granted that we can bring it all in and that we will also just be there to produce that food regardless. We need to see supply chain fairness and a plan in place.”
NFU Shropshire chair and Ludlow farmer Graham Price said members should be assured that officeholders and staff would continue to work hard for county farms.
“The job though does not stop with an MP meeting on farm and I would urge you all to continue to contact your politicians direct,” he said.
“I would ask you all to write to your local politician on the matters that are important to your farm and to Shropshire food production.”