NSA Breakfast Club - Putting food on the table: the future of food security

NSA was joined by Chris Donnelly, independent Adviser on Strategis Food Security, Adele Jones from Sustainable Food Trust and Nicholas Saphir from AHDB to discuss "The future of UK food security". 

This webinar focused on future food security in the UK.

As part of the Agriculture Act 2020 the government committed to publishing a report relating to food security every three years. The first report published last year explored, past, current and future data to set a baseline for reports to come.

The definition of food security can vary widely but in part must be considered in the context of self-sufficiency. Currently, the UK produces 60% of domestic food by value, part of which is exported as the UK imports 46% of the food it consumes. 

Sourcing staple foods from global markets can increase food supply resilience as it reduces the risks associated with potential limited food availability. However, balance is key and often higher levels of self-sufficiency can be seen as preferable to reduce the potential logistical, political, and production risks, whilst ensuring that any imports come from a diverse range of sources to increase resilience in food supply and diversity of diets.

Climate change, exploitation of natural capital resource availability, and biodiversity loss are the biggest factors that threaten the stability and long-term sustainability of food production, and therefore food security. Ultimately there needs to be a balance between producing high yields to satisfy food demand and ensuring sustainable production. We ask what the true value of nature is and whether it comes at the cost of food or in harmony with a thriving agricultural sector.

With Free Trade Agreements on the horizon from Australia and New Zealand should the UK sheep industry be improving availability throughout the seasons, agreeing commitments with the public procurement and hospitality sectors and creating a thriving supply chain that encourages retailers to utilises regional suppliers?