Today, August 7, marks the day on which the country would run out of food if it relied only on UK supplies from January 1.
Although there have been slight fluctuations in recent years, statistics from Defra show a long-term decline in self-sufficiency, down from 74 per cent in 1987 to 60 per cent in 2017.
Minette Batters, the union’s president, said the figures demonstrated a need for the Government to put food security at the top of the political agenda, especially with Brexit just eight months away.
“British food production has been pulled into sharp focus in recent weeks with farmers across the country wrangling with the impacts of unprecedented dry and hot weather,” Ms Batters added.
“This has been a real test for Government to show farmers and the many concerned members of the public that they think that our ability to produce food in this country is truly important.
“The statistics show a concerning long-term decline in the UK’s self-sufficiency in food and there is a lot of potential for this to be reversed.
“And while we recognise the need for importing food which can only be produced in different climates, if we maximise on the food that we can produce well in the UK then that will deliver a whole host of economic, social and environmental benefits to the country.
“Home-grown food production must have the unwavering support of Government if we are to achieve this post-Brexit.”
The NFU’s plea comes shortly after Northern Ireland became the first UK nation to recognise the importance of food security in post-Brexit policy development.
Future agricultural policy consultations in England, Scotland and Wales all failed to mention it.
Published by our sister company Farmers Guardian. Follow their Brexit hub for all the latest updates.