Government must address food security says Asda

By Hayley Brown

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food security Food

Government must address food security says Asda
Asda has slammed the government for failing to provide a comprehensive policy framework to address the future of food security in the UK.The...

Asda has slammed the government for failing to provide a comprehensive policy framework to address the future of food security in the UK.

The government needs to step up to the plate and lead a national debate, urged Paul Kelly, Asda’s director of corporate affairs. He was speaking at the Real Food Festival on May 8, at a debate on The Future of Food.

“A national debate should shape a policy framework, which should implement change,” he added. “Access to food is the cornerstone of social justice. Everyone has the right to choice, accessibility and affordability - not just the few.

“It’s become far too easy to blame the food industry, but society needs to decide which way the debate is to be moved on. The supermarkets and manufacturers do have a role to play, but the government is skirting around the edges. It needs to step in and work towards implementing sound guiding principles.”

The issue of food security should dominate political thinking going forward, added environmentalist Zac Goldsmith. “I still find it astonishing that the official position of our government is that food security is something that a country is entitled to, as long as they can afford to pay for it.”

Modern, industrial, intensive farming was responsible for increasing yields on a temporary basis, but it was also responsible for exhausting agricultural resources, he said. “The government needs to intervene, and not just provide a policy for this county but also on imports.”

By 2050 9.2bn people, an extra 200,000 per day, need to be fed. This meant that by 2050, global food production needed to increase by 50-60%, estimated Mark Barthel, special advisor, at the Waste & Resources Action Programme. “But what we are, in fact, facing over the next 60 years is a significant reduction in our ability to produce foods, by even as much as a quarter, as a result of climate change, water shortages, land degradation and an increase of invasive pests,” he added.

Current methods of food production, such as intensive farming, are completely unsustainable, added Barthel. “Dietary expectations need to change. Consumers also need to understand the true value of food and stop throwing away a third of everything that they buy.”