Farming groups across the country have called on the UK Government to show the kind of vision needed to give the industry the confidence to continue producing quality, affordable food for the public without the skyrocketing cost of farm inputs show signs of relaxation.
And while the UK is well-positioned to help tackle the impending global food crisis, farmers in the country have urged governments to show “more vision” and focus more on national and global food security when developing agricultural policies focus.
Farms are feeling the heat as rising ‘agflation’ squeezes margins
The call came in response to a warning from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which last week called for a “transforming” of agriculture to make it more resilient to shocks, after the release of a global report showing 193 Millions of people in 53 countries were acutely malnourished and needed urgent help.
Fears of a global food crisis have been fueled by the fact that Russia and Ukraine together produce 30 percent of the world’s wheat supply, with Ukraine in particular seen as the world’s breadbasket.
The recent conflict has cut off supplies from Ukraine’s ports, which once exported large quantities of cooking oil and grains such as corn and wheat, leading to a reduction in global supply and a rise in the prices of alternatives. According to the UN, food prices around the world are almost 30 percent higher than at the same time last year.
On the home front, the National Sheep Association (NSA) said that while the UK was well placed to fill the gap, it continued to lack vision from the UK government when it came to food security and the country’s nutrition.
“Many of the future farming programs under development could help lead us towards a better, more resilient and more sustainable food sector – but it still lacks the vision and strategy to set truly integrated ambitions for food, climate, nature, natural resources and… ethical food growing and land management,” said NSA director Phil Stocker.
He said investing in the country’s food supply chain, infrastructure and next generation is absolutely critical to ensuring Britain can continue to feed itself in an increasingly volatile political landscape.
And after the EU yesterday announced a €1.4 billion aid package for its farmers, the Ulster Farmers Union said UK producers were also struggling seriously to cope with unprecedented inflationary costs: “Over the past year, the Input prices for diesel, electricity and steel have increased and concrete has doubled. Fertilizers and agrochemicals have tripled in price over the same period.
“Unless both government and retailers step in to ease the pressure, our food security will be severely compromised, which will impact the availability of locally produced, affordable food to consumers.”