Protecting the UK’s food security is to be a central theme of the Government’s new Food Strategy.
The review, which was originally supposed to be published last year, will also look at how the food system can help tackle diet-related illness, how farming can become more sustainable and how to dovetail future food and drink policy with the Industrial Strategy.
As Farmers Guardian reported in June 2018, Defra non-executive director and co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain Henry Dimbleby has been tasked with leading on the review’s development.
The strategy will only cover England, but will consider relationships with the devolved administrations, the EU and other trading partners.
Supported by Defra officials and the Food and Drink Sector Council, Mr Dimbleby will launch a call for evidence this summer, with the strategy itself published in summer 2020.
The Terms of Reference, published on June 27, say: “We cannot afford to ignore new challenges to food security.
“The world’s population is growing, with mass migration to cities, resource competition intensifying between nations, huge stress on water supplies and climate change altering what the land is capable of supplying.
“Trade barriers are re-emerging and new public health dangers are growing, from anti-microbial resistance to viral mutations.
“It is critical to review how we secure the food of the future.”
Minette Batters, president of the NFU, which is publishing its own food strategy alongside the Government’s, welcomed the review’s launch and described it as ‘long overdue’.
“It is crucial this strategy delivers for everyone, from food producers to families across the country, regardless of their income,” she said.
Sustain food and farming alliance chief executive Kath Dalmeny was also positive about the review, saying it could play a pivotal role in delivering sustainably produced and healthy food for everyone.
“We are excited about the ideas, collaboration and optimism the Food Strategy has already started to generate,” she added.