Sunak lays out food security plan to cut reliance on imports

The government will also publish a new annual UK Food Security Index

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets volunteers preparing food packages during a visit to Omnom, a restaurant and community centre in London, Britain, May 6, 2024. HENRY NICHOLLS/Pool via REUTERS

Pramod Thomas

PRIME MINISTER Rishi Sunak will set out his plans on Tuesday (14) to improve food security and to cut reliance on imports from other countries.

The government will also publish a new annual UK Food Security Index to track the impacts of external factors, such as the Russia-Ukraine war or extreme weather events.

Britain is expected to hold a national election later in the year, which Sunak’s Tory party is predicted to lose heavily to the opposition Labour.

Like many other countries, it has been hit by surging inflation and a cost of living crisis, stoked in part by the war between Russia and Ukraine hitting grain exports.

The country’s ability to feed itself is set to be reduced by nearly a 10th this year as farmers across the country reel from one of the wettest winters on record, non-profit think tank ECIU said on Monday (13).

“This package of support will help farmers produce more British food, delivers on our long-term plan to invest in our rural communities, and ensures the very best of our homegrown products end up on our plates,” Sunak said.

“I know for many farmers, the impact of adverse weather in recent months has made working the land even harder, but my message is clear, our support for you is unwavering.”

Excerpts of the Food Security Index released ahead of its full publication show the country produced about 17 per cent of the fruit and 55 per cent of the vegetables consumed by households.