The impact of extreme weather conditions on food production was top of the agenda in a meeting today between the president of the National Farmers Union, Sir Ben Gill, and bosses of UK supermarket chain Asda.

They discussed the possibility of the food chain sharing higher quality long-range weather forecast information to enable all parts of the chain to plan ahead for bouts of extreme weather conditions, in order to enable farmers and processors to modify production processes to take into account changes in demand and growing conditions due to the weather.

“Extreme weather has an impact on the whole food chain from the production cycle through to changes in consumer demand at the point of sale,” Gill said.

“For example, the recent heat-wave has affected the growing cycle of lettuces while consumer demand for salad produce has gone up.

“If the food chain worked more closely together in planning production including sharing long-range weather forecasts, contingency planning and market information, we could all ensure we minimise the potential disruption to supply,” he added.

Asda president Tony De Nunzio said the retailer recognised the need to address these longer-term issues.

“(We) hope that by working together in the areas of weather and climate change the industry will be better prepared in the future,” he said.

To read’s current feature on how the food industry keeps ahead of the weather, click here.