Positivity at the first Farm to Fork Summit

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The first convention on the UK food supply chain gave some encouraging signals to the industry, says NFU county advisor Gemma Harvey

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The Farm to Fork Summit on food security, which Prime Minster Rishi Sunak hosted at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday 16th May, marked a significant step in the NFU’s campaign for recognition of the strategic importance of British food and farming.
The very first food summit of its kind was the culmination of more than a year’s work and campaigning by the NFU, who asked the Prime Minister to convene the whole supply chain. Farmers, food producers and some of Britain’s largest supermarkets came together to discuss the vital measures needed to build resilience and transparency quite literally from farm to fork, thereby strengthening productivity.

Serious commitments
NFU President Minette Batters said: ‘I am absolutely delighted that the Prime Minister has delivered on the commitment he made to NFU members last year to host this summit. The number of Cabinet Ministers present shows the ambition for cross-departmental coordination to deliver measures to boost home-grown food production. Many of the farmers and growers I represent will be relieved to see UK food security being taken seriously by the government.’
The summit coincided with several announcements from Government which represent major wins for the NFU:
Reviews into fairness, specifically in the horticulture and egg supply chains
A new bespoke £1m programme to help dairy businesses export
Replacing the retained EU Fruit and Vegetable Producer Organisation Scheme when it closes in 2026
Five additional agri-food and drink attachés who will help spearhead the removal of restrictive market barriers
Making it easier to build new glasshouses through changes to national planning policy
A commitment that the Groceries Code Adjudicator will not be merged with the Competition and Markets Authority, in recognition of its importance in ensuring our food supply chains function as they should
Additional investment of around £20 million to unlock the potential of precision breeding.
Minette said that ‘the announcements made today show a recognition and an understanding of the strategic importance of British food and farming to the nation. They recognise the importance of coordinated action across government to support confidence, investment and growth in British food.
‘What we need now is to build on these announcements. We are calling for a set of core agri-food import standards for trade. While it is pleasing government is looking to maintain self-sufficiency at 60 per cent, we believe there’s an opportunity to produce much more of our own food here. We can and should be more ambitious and look to move beyond this target.
‘Vitally, the Farm to Fork Summit should become an annual event, as our food supply is part of the UK’s national infrastructure and will ensure that, across all parties, food security never drops down the political agenda again.’

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