British farmers have called on the government to make food security a top priority on the day the country’s cupboards would run bare if households relied only on British produce. A long-term decline in self-sufficiency that has stagnated at around 60% in recent years means around three quarters of the shortfall is imported from the rest of the European Union.
The UK food and farming industry wants assurances from the government that it will still be able to recruit enough staff from the EU after Brexit. The demand came as part of a manifesto drawn up by more than 100 organizations across the industry and sent to the PM. It urges the government to publish a white paper setting out its immigration plans as a matter of priority.
Quitting the European Union means the UK will have to go back to the drawing board over devolution, constitutional experts have warned. Wrangles over sharing out cash for farmers will be one of the biggest challenges ministers face, according to the Institute for Government (IfG).
Post-Brexit trade deals could pose the biggest peacetime threat to the UK's food security if welfare standards and farmers are not protected, MPs say. Imports of food produced with lower welfare standards should not be allowed, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agro-ecology warns.
Following a meeting to discuss common concerns, the British Isles' farming unions – NFU Scotland, the English NFU, NFU Cymru, the Ulster Farmers Union and the Irish Farmers Association – issued a joint statement warning buyers that the downward pressure on farm-gate prices was “sapping confidence” out of the sector.
On September 10th MercoPress reproduced a piece from Meat Trade News Daily (UK farmers claim Uruguay’s ‘Hereford’ meat labelling is ‘misleading’) in which the UK National Farmers Union, NFU called on Asda supermarkets to change its labelling policy after it emerged that its meat marked ‘Hereford Prime Beef Sirloin Steak’ is sourced 6,800 miles away in Uruguay.
Farmers in the UK have warned the EU against a trade deal with Mercosur which could see Brazil and Argentina given access to the European meat market, potentially flooding the market with cheap imports and undermining domestic producers.