Farmers key to food supply stability

Concerns about food security have put farming back on the political agenda and British farmers are central to future food supply, NFU vice-president Paul Temple said on Monday.

Concerns about food security have put farming back on the political agenda and British farmers are central to future food price stability and supply, NFU vice-president Paul Temple said on Monday (14 September).

Speaking at a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth, Temple said it was vital that productive agriculture in the UK was maintained and British farmers could meet the twin challenges of achieving this while reducing their environmental footprint.

He said: "We are fortunate that, as food producers, we are in an industry that will always be required. We want to place UK farming in a context of consumer value and show how it is vital in dealing with the problems of food supply and price stability.

"In the changing world in which we live, our food production is globally important and should not be wound down under the naïve assumption we can trade our way out of trouble. British agriculture has an important role to play and the government should start acting accordingly.

"The next generation of farmers is the key to food security in 10 years' time. There are a huge range of careers available in an industry that has a vital role to play in the country's future and it's important these opportunities are promoted."

Temple highlighted the importance of research and development and advances in science as tools in helping agriculture to meet the challenges it faces in terms of increasing food production and underlines the need for smarter regulation that encourages farmers to adapt and put the UK on an equal footing with the rest of the EU.

"Regulation must be looked at in terms of its cost and its net effect. It should encourage agricultural investment that improves productivity and the environmental footprint of farming and not put farmers at a disadvantage through unnecessary and poorly thought-out proposals."

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