The food security reviews Government is legally obliged to carry out by the Agriculture Bill will inform future farming policy, Defra Minister Victoria Prentis has confirmed.
The legislation requires the audits to take place at least once every five years.
Speaking to journalists during a press briefing at Cereals this week, Ms Prentis said there was nothing precluding the Government from carrying them out more frequently, but pointed out some of the data which would feed into the reviews was gathered over longer time periods.
She was also unable to confirm when the first audit would take place, though was keen to point out Government would not want to ‘wait a long time’ to review the lessons learned during the pandemic.
“We are obviously working at pace to develop our future farming policy and we have a long transition period to do that,” she said.
“Things will change during that period, we will start off with whatever we come up with for next year, and then gradually it will evolve.
“Of course, the food work will be part of that learning and part of what we do going forward. I would certainly expect the findings of the review to make future policy, that is what it is for.”
Ms Prentis went on to say the Government’s goal was not to achieve 100 per cent self-sufficiency, but a secure food chain.
Her comments came shortly after professor Tim Lang from City, University of London, called for the UK to set a target to be 80 per cent self-sufficient in food, up from 53 per cent today.
He said: “At 80 per cent, you can eat well most of the time and have lots of food trade, but you can tighten your belt if things go bad.
“Fifty per cent of your food being traded? That is risky.”