The UK should grow its own food, says advisor

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food supply chain Sustainability

The UK should grow its own food, says advisor
Doubts cast over UK food supply chain

The government's recent consultation paper on food security reveals a "worrying level of complacency" about the resilience of the UK food supply chain, according to one of its own advisors.

Referring to Ensuring the UK's food security in a changing world​, Tim Lang, professor of food policy at London's City University, said: "I welcome the fact that the government is finally consulting on the issue of food security, but the paper itself demonstrates a worrying level of complacency."

Lang, who is natural resources and land use commissioner on the government's sustainable development commission, said: "We know our food supply chain is under threat, and yet the suggestion in this paper is that we're fundamentally OK, and that we just need to do some contingency planning instead of fundamentally rethinking how we organise our food supply chain."

He added: "Yes, we are more self-sufficient on food than we were in the interwar years, but our self-sufficiency has actually been dropping like a stone over the last decade. You don't see France and the US in this situation. We shouldn't be buying so much food on world markets; we should be growing it ourselves. We also have to rebuild our horticulture industry as a matter of urgency."

While global food production needed to double by 2050 to feed 9bn people, climate change meant crop yields could fall significantly in some countries owing to water shortages, claimed Lang.

Meanwhile, the diversion of vast swathes of agricultural land to biofuel production was further compounding the problem, he claimed. "This is not only economically stupid, it's immoral."

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