Starmer wants to help farmers export but UK should be prioritising self-sufficiency

We believe trade is a good thing and Brexit has been a disaster but here at Compostal, we believe food should be 90% homegrown and kept in the country…

Keir Starmer has said the UK government has given up on farmers.  He is right to point out that the UK in a quest to secure trade deals may end up undercutting British farmers from cheaper imports from abroad but he is wrong to suggest that the UK should be helping farmers’ exports at the same time.  The UK government has in recent times been taking steps to support domestic food production and improve food security. This includes initiatives such as the Agricultural Transition Plan, which aims to help farmers transition to more sustainable and profitable forms of agriculture, and the National Food Strategy, which outlines a comprehensive plan for improving the UK’s food system.  The balance is that you don’t want to discourage investment or farmers giving up because they are not been sufficiently compensated due to lost business from overseas buyers.

Despite these efforts, however, the UK still relies heavily on food imports to meet its needs. The country is particularly dependent on imports of fruits, vegetables, and processed foods, which make up a significant portion of the average UK diet.  According to the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), in 2019 the country produced around 61% of its own food so the UK has a fair way to go to be self-sufficient in food.   We also believe all countries around the world should be transitioning to a self-sufficient model, both food and water.  Some countries may not be able to adapt and obviously, there will be challenges in migration but that’s surely an even bigger incentive for countries to adapt now while they can.  If a country collapse and migration then follows, that puts a big strain on neighbouring countries.  If more countries are self-sufficient to access food and water, then migration can be spread more effectively for those countries that have adapted. 

Achieving greater food self-sufficiency in the UK will therefore require a combination of strategies, including increasing domestic production of key food commodities, reducing food waste and loss, and improving access to healthy and nutritious foods for all.  To this end, many UK farmers and food producers are embracing new technologies and production methods that allow them to grow crops and raise livestock more efficiently and sustainably. These include precision farming, which uses data and analytics to optimize crop yields and reduce waste, and vertical farming, which allows for the cultivation of crops in controlled indoor environments.  Genetically modifying crops and seeds will also be a big game changer.  Adapting the crop to harsher environments and producing more yield will be crucial in the years to come.

In addition to these production strategies, the UK government is also taking steps to promote more sustainable and healthy diets among the population. This includes initiatives such as the Sugar Reduction Programme, which aims to reduce sugar content in food and drinks, and the Eatwell Guide, which provides guidance on healthy and sustainable eating.

In conclusion, while the UK has made significant strides in recent years towards achieving greater food self-sufficiency, there is still much work to be done. By continuing to invest in sustainable and innovative forms of agriculture, and promoting healthy and sustainable diets, the country can work towards a more resilient and secure food system for all.

Starmer wants to help farmers export but UK should be prioritising self-sufficiency

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