Farming leaders have warned that by 2040 the UK will need to import almost half of its food to meet demand as the population rises. A report from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) warns of “serious implications” for the economy and food security if the country does not improve productivity.
The union predicts that by 2040 there will be an extra 13 million people living in the UK, putting pressure on food resources. If farming continues at current rates, the UK will only produce enough food to meet 53% of the country’s demand. In 1991 the UK’s food self-sufficiency stood at 75%, however, it has since fallen to 60%.
The report warns that unless the “negative trend” is reversed there will be “serious implications” for the economy, food security and employment.
The trend is occurring despite a YouGov poll showing that 85% of the UK population want to see supermarkets selling more British food.
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Meurig Raymond, NFU president, said, “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.”
The report includes the NFU’s ‘top ten policy asks’. These include the UK government engaging and championing farming in EU policy making, introducing fiscal initiative that enable farm business to manage volatility and promote capital investment, and providing faming information to schools and colleges.
Globally population increases will put pressure on the world’s food system. The UN has previously predicted that the world needs to produce 70% more food to meet demands in 2050. Climate change is also set to create challenges for farming.
Photo: Andreas Krappweis via Flickr