By Aimee Mahony, chief poultry advisor, NFU
May I start by wishing you all a happy new year. Whilst the industry continues to face numerous challenges, the resilience of producers and their families and staff members is something we should all be very proud of, and I hope that the sector is able to embrace the opportunities that may come its way over the next twelve months and beyond.
It’s hard to look forward without reflecting on the past and who could have predicted the turmoil and market disruption caused throughout 2022. From a war in Ukraine to political turbulence closer to home – the word of the year truly has to be ‘unprecedented’.
At a time when the nation has a cost-of-living crisis and numerous frontline workers are striking, there is a critical situation playing out in front of us which I’m sure will be the talk of history lessons in schools in the future. The government must act to ensure we have a viable economy and not least to provide food security as we move forwards.
Food security has been covered by the media quite extensively of late, in particular in the run up to Christmas. I’m sure it will also be a hot topic in the coming weeks and months as rising costs of production continue to impact the decisions farmers and growers are being forced to make.
Just before Christmas NFU President Minette Batters met the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and he gave reassurances that he was still committed to monitoring food self-sufficiency. To thrive the food and farming sector needs the government to deliver on these commitments and the NFU continues to hold them to account on this.
Whilst we all get tied up with the day-to-day issues it’s important to also think about the longer-term strategy and members of the NFU’s national poultry board will be spelling out the importance of this to MPs at a meeting in London in the second week of January. This work is imperative to ensure important topics such as fairness in the supply chain are brought to the attention of key decision makers and this will remain a priority for the NFU poultry board as we progress throughout 2023.