Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

UK ‘is 2% less self-sufficient on food production than in 2012’, farmers warn

06:00 07 August 2014

The proportion of food the UK produces for itself is continuing to fall, with the country able to feed itself only up until today without imports, farmers have warned.

The UK’s self-sufficiency in food dropped by two percentage points from 2012 to 60% last year, down from 75% in 1991, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said.

Popular foods such as bananas have to be imported from abroad, but there has also been a fall in self-sufficiency for food that can be grown or produced domestically, down from 77% in 2012 to 73% in 2013, and down from a high of nearly 87% in 1991.

And while food exports have doubled in the past decade, the UK is spending £21.3 billion more on imports than it is receiving from exports, up from a gap of £10.2 billion in 1991, the NFU said.

The NFU is calling for consumers, retailers, politicians and industry to back a series of measures to boost British farming.

NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “To think UK food would only last until today without imports is an alarming notion. But looking back over the last two decades and seeing the downward slope in self-sufficiency says to me ‘this needs to change’.

“We know people want to buy British food, with 86% of shoppers wanting to buy more traceable food produced on British farms.

“What we need now is for farming to be at the heart of decision-making across the wider food industry and government, for more food to be both produced and consumed here, in the UK.”

He said the UK as a country needed to “give farmers the green light” to produce more food.

“Our aim is to ensure the country - consumers, politicians, retailers and the wider food industry - is backing British farming, and within this, a solid plan for agricultural growth to ensure the current self-sufficiency trend is reversed and long-term food security is supported,” he said.

The NFU wants to see a growth plan implemented which will include financial measures to boost on-farm investment in machinery and infrastructure such as water storage.

It would also include measures to improve access to new crops, biotechnology and growing systems, and for fair, transparent supply chains and secure returns from processors, retailers and caterers.

The farming body also wants effective animal health measures that lead to the eradication of bovine TB, and regulation of pesticides that encourage innovation, as well as swift deployment of new products to tackle emerging diseases, pests and weed problems

And it is calling for a partnership between Government and the industry to promote UK exports, and UK and EU trade policy to increase exports.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Corrie McKeague on CCTV outside The Grapes pub in Bury St Edmunds

An abandoned white van is today being investigated by police looking into the disappearance of RAF Honington serviceman Corrie McKeague.

Stock aerial image of High Road West, Felixstowe. Photo: Andy Abbott.

A motorcyclist has been injured after a crash involving a van in Felixstowe.

Stock image.

An overloaded plug socket is believed to have started a fire at a flat in Colchester.

Graduating students (no photo caption issued). Pic: James Fletcher/University of Suffolk.

The University of Suffolk celebrated the work of its final three honorary graduates at its ceremonies on Thursday.

Stock image.

A pedestrian was in hospital on Thursday evening after a collision involving a Ford Transit van in Suffolk.

Police say they are getting to grips with drug-dealing in Leiston after a series of arrests in the town.

Campaigners protest outside the NSFT AGM at IP-City Centre in Ipswich.

Campaigners have demanded answers and greater transparency from mental health bosses over a “shocking” rise in unexpected patient deaths in Suffolk and Norfolk.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists

Don't miss


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24