Dear Secretary of State,
The issue of self-sufficiency – our ability to feed ourselves using only food produced in this country – is a barometer of British farming as a global leader.
In 2020, the UK’s overall food self-sufficiency was 60%. In 1984, it was 78%.
We are calling on you, as a champion of British farming, to make sure our self-sufficiency levels do not fall any further and every opportunity is seized to increase them.
The best way to do this is by setting a target for Britain’s food production levels, using self-sufficiency as a key metric, as part of the Government's Food Security report which is due to be published this year.
This figure will clearly show if we are becoming more or less reliant on the rest of the world to feed us as a nation.
British food is some of the highest quality, safest, and most nutritious in the world. We have the climate and the natural resources to produce fresh, affordable food for everyone, in every corner of the UK. But we cannot be global leaders if our own production levels drop and we have less to export.
We want the government to work with British farmers, as laid out in our British Food: Leading the Way report (to be launched on Wednesday), to produce more food that we are great at producing because of our landscape, soils and climate.
Of course, we accept that there are always going to be some foods that our natural environment just won’t enable us to grow, but as a country we should be ambitious to provide more food for people in the UK and around the world.
By not allowing self-sufficiency to drop below 60% you will show that British farming is leading the way. To be truly ambitious the UK Government could aim to increase British food production, our self-sufficiency percentage, and the amount of British food consumed at home and exported overseas.