I recently led a debate in Parliament to raise awareness of food security and the importance of supporting our British farmers. The journey from Farm to Fork has never been more complex than it is today.
Food security has many dimensions, including availability, affordability, nutrition, and fairness to farmers. I am therefore pleased to hear of the success of last week’s Farm to Fork Summit 2023 which seeks to build on the Government’s Food Strategy by setting out a clear vision for a prosperous agri-food sector that ensures a secure food supply.
As a Farmer’s daughter myself, I am well aware of the challenges faced by the farming industry both locally and across the UK. We need to address this now as farmer’s play an essential role in our local economy as well as in the national production of food.
The Summit last week set out a range of new measures I welcome including; supply chain fairness – ensuring farmers get a fair price for their produce, innovation in the farming sector – investment in innovative technologies to strengthen our food security, labour and skills – ensuring farmers have access to the workforce they need when they need it, water and energy security – by improving infrastructure.
Now that we are outside the EU, we need to use the flexibility we have to listen to the industry, to work with the sector and to ensure that we can respond to its needs and boot trade and export opportunities to get more British food on plates here in the UK and across the world with a commitment to protecting the UK’s high food and welfare standards and prioritise new export opportunities.
If we are to stop a repeat of the shortages on our shelves we saw earlier in the year, then we need food security and we much do more to grow our food and farming industry. Farming must be viable and economically sustainable as we all as environmentally sustainable.
I was also able to raise the issue of the cumulative impact of solar panels on agricultural land, the role farmers play as guardians of the countryside, the importance of our precious greenbelt and green spaces and I am grateful to the Minister for his response.
Click here if you want to follow the debate: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/4004aa9c-6108-439d-93a5-36ab69a81d28