The British Meat Processors Association (BPMA) said the UK Government needed to recognise the enormity of the looming food crisis and move to more of an emergency footing.
The BMPA has highlighted the issue of feed and fertiliser supplies, which have been further impacted by the war in Ukraine. It said established trade routes are being severely tested or even closing down.
The boss of one of the world's largest fertiliser companies, Yarra voiced his deep concern to the BBC this week.
Yara International chief executive Svein Tore Holsether said: “Half the world’s population gets food as a result of fertilisers … and if that’s removed from the field for some crops, [the yield] will drop by 50%. For me, it’s not whether we are moving into a global food crisis – it’s how large the crisis will be.”
The BMPA said a major issue is the fact that Russia produces two thirds of the world’s Ammonium Nitrate, which is the main fertiliser that farmers use for crops, grass and livestock farming. The price has soared in price from around £200 per tonne to £1000 per tonne over the last couple of years and Russia had already placed a ban on all exports of Ammonium Nitrate from 2 February.
Nick Allen, ceo of BMPA, said: “If British farmers can’t source fertiliser, or if it is too expensive to buy, this will become a big problem very quickly and will drastically reduce the UK’s capacity to grow crops and rear animals.
“At a time when countries across the world are placing export bans on the food and feed they produce, alternative sources of food will become harder to find and more expensive.”
The BMPA has called for the Government to immediately facilitate an open forum where food supply chain representatives can share intelligence to understand where weaknesses in supply are likely.
It said the Government also needs to step in to support the domestic food and farming industry to ensure it is not further weakened as a result of rising input costs and the ongoing labour crisis.