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'Food security is considered a given'

May 7, 2024 - Jurphaas Lugtenburg

The wettest eighteen months since 1836, high costs of production inputs such as fertilizers and fuel, lower prices for agricultural products like wheat and milk, and the phasing out of the per hectare premium. When you put it all together like this, it's not surprising that confidence among British farmers has plummeted, as evidenced by the survey conducted by the British National Farmers Union (NFU).

65% of the nearly 800 participants in the survey say that the profitability of the business is under pressure or even fear for its survival. In the previous NFU survey, this percentage was 50%. "Confidence has collapsed after months of devastating floods, unsustainable high production costs, low yields, and against a backdrop of reduced income support as we transition to a new domestic agricultural policy," writes Tom Bradshaw, chairman of the NFU. "Every entrepreneur knows that without confidence and a stable cash flow, investing becomes difficult and it becomes challenging to remain viable."

Food Security
Especially the abolition of the CAP and income support deals a blow to confidence. Compared to the previous situation, the per hectare premium has been halved, while farmers need more money to make ends meet. "As NFU, we are concerned about the shift from a fixed per hectare premium to public money for public goods," writes Bradshaw. "Although very well-intentioned, food production is considered a given."

According to the NFU, political parties say that food security is national security. "If they really mean that, they should ask themselves what is needed to restore confidence among farmers," says Bradshaw. "Thinking that imports are the solution is naive at best and downright foolish at worst. We need a long-term vision on how we want to feed the 70 million inhabitants on this island."

Jurphaas Lugtenburg

Jurphaas Lugtenburg is a market specialist in onions, carrots, and commodities such as wheat, corn, and soybeans at DCA Market Intelligence. He combines his degree in business administration with a passion for farming.
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