Food and DrinkHospitalityNews

Food Security ‘Vital Part Of National Security’, Says Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has announced at that an annual UK-wide Food Security Index would be produced and that a ‘farm to fork summit’ would be held annually.

Speaking at the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) annual conference, Rishi Sunak promised a new focus on food security on Tuesday, responding to criticism from farmers that agriculture is being not given the same strategic importance as energy and the environment.

The Prime Minister also outlined a doubling of the amount going to technology and innovation schemes such as robotics, roof-top solar and agricultural research, to £220 million, helping farmers to increase productivity.

The money is part of the Government’s commitment to maintain support for English farming at pre-Brexit levels of £2.4 billion a year.

Speaking ahead of an expected general election this year, Mr Sunak also outlined plans to reduce “red tape” to allow farmers to develop on-farm businesses such as shops.

“Food security is a vital part of our national security and recent years have brought home the truth of that, he said, noting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago prompted a surge in food and energy prices.”

“We’re strengthening support for your primary role to produce the nation’s food security as a vital part of our national security.

“Putin set off not just an energy price bomb, but a food price bomb too.”

“You help support millions of jobs, add billions to our economy, shape the landscape.

“But most of all, you produce the food we need – food that is some of the best and highest quality anywhere in the world.

“And that’s why I say to all of you and to Britain’s farmers, just as I did, in my very first speech in Parliament: I’ve got your back.”

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, contributed to the conference, discussing the future of British food, and backing the measures.

Commenting, she said: “Food is at the absolute core of hospitality’s offering and robust food security in the UK is critical to our venues. It’s essential to maintain continuous supply and also to offer our customers the high-quality food they rightly demand.

“Both of the measures announced by the Prime Minister today are very positive and I’m pleased that the Government is building on the success of the farm to fork summit held last year.

“I was delighted to be involved in that summit and it’s so important that hospitality continues to be a central part of this work. After all, hospitality feeds around 20 million people each week and is a significant route to market for food producers.”