To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help strengthen national resilience by increasing domestic food production in the UK.
25 March 2022
The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources, strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. We produce 60% of all the food we need, and 74% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year. These figures have changed little over the last 20 years.
Strong domestic food production is an important factor in our food security. The UK enjoys considerable self-sufficiency in food, with production to supply ratios of nearly 100 percent in poultry, carrots and swedes, and we also produce 88% of all the cereals that we need. In addition, UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply. The Government is also supporting farmers in England to become more efficient and has recently awarded grants of £48.5 million through the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund, helping boost productivity at this critical time.
Recognising the importance of food production, the Government has set out a legal obligation on the Government to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021. It recognised the contribution made by British farmers to our resilience, and the importance of strong domestic production to our food security. This report will serve as an evidence base for future policy work.