Here at Land Ocean Farm we have a vision that we can play a significant part in reducing the amount of food imported into the UK. Whilst our focus is solely on aquaculture and producing healthy, nutrient-dense and pollution-free seafood, we take a keen interest in the wider UK food sector. In this the final part of a three part blog Rasel Mahmud, our Project Leader takes a look at why the UK food deficit matters and how did we get here.
How can the UK fix the problem?
There is no one, quick fix solution to the UK’s food deficit. Indeed the scale of the deficit and conflicting pressures such as the projected 0.50% annual increase in the UK population mean that decisive action needs to be taken across a number of areas. We highlight just some of those we consider to be the most important here.
A co-ordinated non political long term strategy for the UK. Successive UK governments have written policy documents, papers or introduced measures designed to tackle aspects of the UK’s food deficit, only for these to dropped or the direction of travel changed by subsequent governments. A non political party, long term approach needs to be adopted.
Food waste needs to be cut. If the farm gate waste could be cut by one third, the UK food industry could create an additional £53.5 million worth of food. Based upon estimates of UK household food waste, 20 billion kilogrammes of food is wasted a year. Higher priority needs to be given to educating the general public and the current work around understanding of best before and use by dates needs to continue. The amount of food wasted by each retailer must be made more public to increase pressure on the industry to reduce the estimated 10.5 million tonnes of food wasted by retailers, one third of which goes to landfill.
Investment in agri-tech centres should be increased. £17.5 million of funding was announced by the current Government as part of its Farming Innovation Programme. This is a welcome first step, but more needs to be done.
Gloucestershire is a UK centre of excellence in this regard with Farm 491 at the Royal Agricultural University and Hartpury Agritech Centre which is part of its 2030 Digital Innovation Farm Vision.
The UK needs to embrace and invest in aqua-culture. Admittedly we are biased on this one. But pursuing this goal could dramatically cut the import of prawn and shrimps, be better for the environment, improve quality and create jobs.
UK agriculture should focus on increasing the number of areas where it is leading when it comes to food productivity. The UK is already a leader when it comes to wheat yields and dairy production thanks to the Holstein production method. We should seek to become leaders in other fields by sharing and highlighting best practice and incentivising investment.
What other areas would you address to tackle the UK’s food production deficit?
We hope you found our thoughts on this topic interesting and we will be sharing more over the coming months.
Email – email@example.com
Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/rasel-mahmud-98977677/