NBA calls on MPs to rethink domestic production policies

The National Beef Association (NBA) is calling on politicians to discard their outdated approach to constrained domestic production and introduce new strategies to take account of increasing hunger and commodity shortages.

The National Beef Association is calling on politicians and supermarkets to take a look at the international food situation, give up their outdated approach to constrained agricultural production, and introduce new strategies to take account of increasing global hunger and growing commodity shortages.

"It is hard to believe that, in discussions over the direction of the latest CAP Health Check, policy-makers in the EU and the UK have still to acknowledge that, despite increasing international affluence, a bigger proportion of the world's population is going to bed hungry," explained NBA director Kim Haywood.

"Current agricultural policies place more reliance on imports than they should do, because they are still aimed at reducing the domestic production of temperate products that British farmers excel in and are targeted almost exclusively at encouraging non-production, social and environmental-based activities through the Rural Development Programme instead."

Haywood added: "A new political emphasis is needed, in which policies designed to increase domestic output and then reduce UK and EU import demand are quickly adopted, so more food that was previously exported into Europe stays where it was grown and is used to feed the increasing numbers of hungry people in its many countries of origin."

The NBA also wants to encourage retailers to accept that British consumers will soon feel extremely uncomfortable at importation from countries that do not have enough food of their own - and will be looking to supermarkets to adopt policies in which food for sale in the UK has not been taken from other people's mouths.

"Retailers feel they can woo middle-class consumers, and occupy the moral high ground, if they push production policies on to their farmer suppliers, which embrace the over-dominant environmental and wildlife conservation principles adopted when temperate food was in plentiful supply," said Haywood.

"They need to appreciate that the world has changed and it is already a matter of urgency for UK and EU agriculture to produce more of what domestic consumers require from local resources and to be able to do this as efficiently as possible."

"This means that efficient farmers need to be encouraged to produce more, high provenance food, on a reasoned, cost-plus basis. Consumers who are aware of what is happening are not going to be happy if the food they eat is imported and arrives on their plate at the expense of hungry people in the country in which it was grown," Haywood added.