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.”