Food security is the message to hammer home, as a general election looms
“Food security is a top priority,” said the shadow food and farming minister, at an annual event hosted by the British Poultry Council (BPC) at the House of Commons.
Daniel Zeichner MP joined members of the poultry industry at the BPC Annual Awards, and while presenting members of the poultry industry with awards at the event, told guests food security was important and understood within the shadow cabinet.
It was music to the ears of those attending, with representatives from trade bodies that have in the years since the Brexit vote in 2016 lobbied to ensure new trade deals don’t risk flooding the UK market with cheap food imports that would be illegal to produce here.
British Poultry Council chair, Martin Troop, and the shadow minister were joined by farmers, producers, and other key stakeholders for the event. Speculation is now rife that Rishi Sunak will call a general election sooner rather than later in the face of increasingly bad polling for the incumbent government.
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “Feeding the nation is a matter of national security…it’s been well-noted across the political spectrum just how well your people have stepped up and have kept the country fed.”
Troop told attendees: “Everyone here goes to work to do a good job, providing something good for the country and making a difference with safe, affordable, and nutritious food. It’s our people, alone and together, who make a difference, and it is these people we are all here to recognise today.
“We all know the context of recent years and the costs and burdens incurred but let us not wilfully add to those,” he added. “We know where we want to be – trusted and valued sustainable food producers.”
The BPC used the event to launch a new report ‘2024 and Beyond,’ in which the British Poultry Council charts the course towards developing British food production, outlining the steps that must be taken to safeguard the availability, accessibility, and affordability of food, prioritise the viability of poultry meat businesses and secure the robustness of our supply chains into the future.
“We even know what the steppingstones are to get there,” said Troop. “We are looking for the support of our Government.”
“The cost of living is hitting businesses and people who are simply trying to go to work and do a good job,” added Troop. “The people in this room work hard to feed the nation…there are many positives and benefits to be had, but only if we – Government and industry – can work together.”
Food and farming a key issue ahead of general election, NFU survey shows
The NFU has published its manifesto ahead of the next general election urging all political parties to support policies which back British food and farming.
The manifesto leads with new research which demonstrates how much food and farming matters to voters in the run up to the general election, with strong appetite for greater government support to boost home-grown food production.
The research shows that 84% think food production targets are either as important or more important than environmental targets for farming; 82% say it would be a good idea for the government to set targets to increase British food production; 66% think that the parties’ plans on farming will be one of the issues that affects who they vote for at the next general election; and 66% think that a commitment to a long-term plan for food and farming will be an important factor in who they vote for at the next election.
The NFU has asked the next government to set targets for food production.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “All our research shows that the British people really value our farmers and growers for the work they do day-in, day-out to feed the nation. Their support has been vital during the turbulence of the past few years with the Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis and increasing periods of drought and flooding.
“We know that the rural vote will be important in this election, but it’s clear that across the country, people living in towns and cities also want to know how parties plan to boost sustainable, home-grown food production as well as care for the environment and tackle climate change. And our data shows it will influence who they vote for at the ballot box.
“As a country, there are multiple priorities and challenges, and this manifesto shows that food security must be one of them, with our farm businesses supported to invest and grow for the benefit of everyone.
“We must not fall into the trap that we can simply import our food needs from other countries – we’ve seen that approach fail before with empty supermarket shelves and we know there is strong public opinion against importing food from elsewhere produced in ways that would be illegal here. That’s why we are asking for targets for British food production, just as the government has rightly legislated for targets on the environment, green energy and climate change. Food has to be given the same status.”
The BPC Annual Awards recognise long and distinguished careers, contributions to research, potential for future excellence and individuals who have supported and made significant contributions to the British poultry meat industry.
Awards were presented to:
Mid Career – Chris Chater (Hook2Sisters)
Mid Career – Adrian Gavin (Moy Park)
Mid Career – David MacArthur (Avara Foods)
Mid Career – Anne Richmond (Moy Park)
Marketing Award – Paddy Dallat (Moy Park)
Special Distinguished Service – James Hook (PD Hook)
Distinguished Service – Evelyn Edwards (Hook2Sisters)
Distinguished Service – Mark Elder (Moy Park)
Distinguished Service – Debbie Foster (Avara Foods)
Distinguished Service – Peter Morgan (Moy Park)
Distinguished Service – Helen Sisson (2 Sisters Food Group)