Egg shortages and rotting produce could herald the food supply turmoil to come for British consumers already battered by inflation and a cost of living crisis.
Soaring costs of everything from fertilizers to energy are putting massive pressure on growers already strained by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit, the National Farmers Union warned on Tuesday. Prices for producers are not keeping pace with input costs, forcing producers to cut production and risking more businesses to close, the group said.
“This is a very serious food security issue right now,” NFU President Minette Batters said at a news conference in London. “We’re seeing a decline” in agriculture, she said.
The UK produces just over half of the food it consumes. However, the number of farms registered in the UK has fallen by 7,000 since 2019, the NFU said. In the worst-case scenario, Britain will produce less and become more dependent on imports, Batters said.
“I fear the country is sleepwalking into more food crises,” she said. “We need governments and the broader supply chain to act now – tomorrow may well be too late.”
Britain’s egg supply chain is already crippled, and fruit and vegetable farmers are in the line of fire amid rising energy costs and labor shortages. Other agricultural sectors also risk supply disruptions, said the union, which called on the government to set domestic food security targets and support producers through the energy crisis.
“It’s about the cost of production, and it’s about spreading that cost evenly throughout the supply chain,” Batters said. “This is essential to ensure consumers continue to have access to quality, sustainable and affordable food.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/farming-news/uk-sleepwalks-toward-food-crises-as-higher-costs-hobble-farmers-42199661.html Britain sleepwalks towards food crises as higher costs shake farmers