UK farmers issue warning on Brexit

UK farmers issue warning on Brexit

The UK's National Farmers' Union (NFU) has issued a stark warning to the British government over the vulnerability of the country's foods supply in a post-Brexit world.

It suggests that as a country Britain is not producing enough of its own food and that if the nation was fed on only its own supplies from 1 January it would run out on 7 August.

And it said a so-called hard Brexit - in which the UK leaves the European Union next March without securing deals relating to trade and customs arrangements and the movement of people - could bring matters to a head.

NFU president Minette Batters warned: "The UK farming sector has the potential to be one of the most impacted sectors from a bad Brexit - a free and frictionless free trade deal with the EU and access to a reliable and competent workforce for farm businesses is critical to the future of the sector." 

She has urged the Government to put the nation's food security at the top of the political agenda as the latest figures show the UK's self-sufficiency in food has stagnated.  

Government figures for 2017 show the UK produced 60% of its own food and this rate is in long-term decline.

Batters said while food self-sufficiency statistics have always been an important measure of the nation's ability to feed itself, with Brexit just eight months away it shines a new light on the supply of British food.

"We strongly believe that every British citizen should be entitled to a safe, traceable and high quality supply of British food that is produced to some of the highest animal welfare and environmental standards in the world," she said.

"Home-grown food production must have the unwavering support of government if we are to achieve this post-Brexit."

Batters' warning comes a fortnight after the UK's Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, said the Government would work with the food industry to ensure the country has an "adequate" supply of food in the event of there being no deal with the EU on Brexit.