EFRA Committee Publish Report on Food Security

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee has today published a report examining the UK contribution to ensuring food security globally to 2050. “Securing food supplies up to 2050: the challenges for the UK” urges Defra to take the lead, building capacity in food and farming industries so that they can respond to market signals in a way that will reduce the risk of food shortages.

The Committee consider that the UK has a moral obligation to contribute to the global challenge of securing food supplies. Commenting on the report, Michael Jack MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “The UK can play a leading role both in Europe and globally in making sure that our farmers and food industry can contribute effectively towards meeting the challenge of a world that will need to double its food output by 2050 whilst coping with the pressures of climate change as well as global plant and animal diseases. Every region of the UK has a contribution to make.”

An increase in food production must take place in the context of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving soil and water and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, recognise the Committee. Consumer engagement is also vital.

The report does not advocate food self-sufficiency for the UK, highlighting instead the importance of strong trading relationships. The report also highlights the dangers posed by ‘land-grabbing’ – rich countries buying up land in poorer regions to grow crops for their own population.

The Committee call for an increase in support for public sector food and farming research, urging Defra to safeguard the UK’s world-class agricultural research base with additional investment of £100 million.