Back domestic production, Labour told

Domestic food production must be a policy cornerstone as the Labour Party seeks to rebuild towards the next general election in 2015, NFU president Peter Kendall told conference delegates last night.

Kendall adressed an audience of delegates at the joint NFU/Food & Drink Federation fringe event during the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, and highlighted how important national food supply will be in the future in terms of food security, rebalancing the economy and creating sustainable jobs across Britain.

“I really want to look at the wider context and the longer-term, because that is where the real community of interest lies between the farmers and growers I represent, and the aspirations that you have as a political party,” he said.

“At this relatively early stage, it is not for me to be telling you in any detail what Labour should be offering the farming and food industries in the policy review.

“But what I can say is that a policy which safeguards the nation’s food supplies ought to be regarded by any future government as a key, strategic objective, which transcends party politics.

“The more we produce from our own resources, the less the risk of food price inflation running out of control for consumers in Britain because of shocks on world markets, such as the 2008 and 2011 price spikes.

“There is also the wider impact to consider. There is something profoundly immoral about rich countries allowing their agriculture to decline and then expecting the rest of the world to feed them.

“If you want to serve the best interests of the British people, the British economy and British jobs, you should build a farming and food policy on the foundation of a dynamic, growing, highly productive, environmentally responsible farming industry, which is delivering the goods for Britain.”