APRIL 17, 2009: The NFU has backed claims by the Conservatives that reduction in Britain’s farming capacity has been weakened our food security.
A Conservative analysis of Defra’s Agriculture in the UK 2008 found significant problems. Shadow Secretary of State for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs, Nick Herbert, said there had been “a significant decline in our productive capacity when the global food system is increasingly vulnerable”. He added: “Over the next few decades demand for food will surge as supply comes under enormous pressure from water stress, climate change and energy shortages. Importing increasing quantities of food we can produce ourselves is a waste of potential, creates unnecessary vulnerabilities and adds to the pressure on stretched world markets. “Reversing the decline in domestic production must be a strategic priority but this does not mean the reintensification of agriculture or new forms of protectionism. It is about enabling our farmers to be competitive in a truly open market while ensuring that the environment is protected.” The NFU said: “We are delighted that Nick Herbert has made this statement which picks up many strands of the NFU’s Why Science Matters for Farming campaign.” It says the campaign combines a celebration of scientific progress through the history of the industry with calls for a refocusing of government priorities and research funding to reflect the particular challenges of the 21st century.