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Deeping St Nicholas farmer Chris Carter says our food self security has dropped to less than 60% and Government is sleep walking into perfect storm

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In our Word on the Ground column Chris Carter looks the problems posed by Government policies and Ukraine war

There is no doubt that agriculture is undergoing fundamental change at the moment with ramifications almost as profound as those relating to the 1947 Agriculture Act, which set out the basics of post war farming that we all recognise.

With events in Ukraine and immense pressures upon the industry generally in respect of truly staggering price increases for inputs it’s probably debatable as to whether the new focus on Environment rather than food production might be a little misplaced.

Chris Carter (57107872)
Chris Carter (57107872)

In World War II, the UK became dangerously close to starvation because of the highly successful German submarine offensive in the Atlantic.

Our level of self sufficiency dropped from over 80% to under 60% within the last three years and it would seem that the majority of our population appear unconcerned.

With Ukraine and Russia producing over 30% of wheat supplies and 90% of sunflower oil, it would seem a perfect storm is blowing up regarding our own food security and Government appears to be sleepwalking toward it.

So what of the future? DEFRA recognises that many smaller farmers are conducting their business on a subsistence basis, with very little surplus to reinvest and thus are encouraging them to retire with dignity via an Exit scheme.

This might work for those with no dependants wanting to continue their antecedent’s business. It is probable that these small farms will end up being swallowed up by larger ‘Agri-Businesses’ which might not be the Government’s intention.

So we end up with larger farms all geared up to producing quality UK food at an economic price that our Government doesn’t seem to want- that sounds to me like a very mixed message, and is no way to run a rural economy.

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