Government has been urged to commit to a secure supply of home-grown produce on the day British consumers would have run out of food if they had only eaten British from January 1 2019.
The NFU made the call on Sunday (August 11) after latest figures suggested British farms produced only 61 per cent of the nation’s food.
President Minette Batters said she wanted a clear pledge from government that it would not let the UK’s self-sufficiency slip below 61 per cent following what she said had been a decline in recent years.
Mrs Batters said: “From West country Red Tractor assured beef to Welsh lamb, Cumbrian sausages to Kent strawberries and Herefordshire apples to Wensleydale cheese – our farmers and growers are delivering some of the highest quality food in the world.
“But we also deliver so much more. When people buy British food they are buying into standards that protect and enhance our natural resources and iconic landscapes.
“They are buying into world-leading standards of animal welfare, and they are buying into the role farmers play in combatting the climate change challenge which is facing us all.”
But there is a lot at stake, Mrs Batters said, and the autumn would be critical to the future of British farming – ‘and with it our ability to feed ourselves’.
“While we will never be completely self-sufficient as a country, it is vital that Britain takes its role as a food producer for its growing population seriously and does not rely on the rest of the world – with wildly varying standards of production – to feed our population which is likely to grow to 73 million people in 20 years’ time,” she said.
“We are ready and able to drive productivity while using less inputs and in smarter ways, we are ready and able to plant bigger hedgerows, more woodland and secure more carbon rich soils, and we are ready and able to contribute more to renewable energy combined with carbon capture and storage in our grasslands used for grazing.”