14 May 2024
by Oli Hill

AIC makes the case for independent Food Security Committee at 2024 Farm to Fork Summit

Robert-Sheasby-No10-Downing-Street-Farm-to-Fork-Summit-14052024-1.jpg

The UK needs an independent, statutory committee to provide comprehensive oversight on food security, the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) has told the Government at today's Farm to Fork Summit (14 May).

AIC Chief Executive Robert Sheasby joined the second annual Summit held by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street, urging the Government to establish such a committee with advocates from all parts of the food supply chain to plan for the long term.

"What we do with our land resource, and the food we produce with it matters for our economy, our productivity, our environment, and our people," said Robert Sheasby, Chief Executive at AIC, the UK's agricultural supply trade association.

"Unlike some other countries, the UK lacks a joined-up, cross-government strategy on land use or food security. Short-term, reactive, unpredictable decision-making is not only bad for business, but it also challenges our food security.

"The lack of confidence to plan, build and invest affects our food security at a time when we need it more than ever, a point proven beyond doubt by the events of the past few years alone with prices rising for British families, shoppers, and diners.

"This is why we desperately need a cross-government, cross-industry, cross-UK view to plan for the future of our national food supply."

Investment and innovation

The Farm to Fork Summit saw leading food and farming industry representatives - including retailers, processors, and trade bodies - get around the table with policymakers to discuss opportunities to promote UK food security, sector growth, innovation, and sustainability efforts.

Mr Sheasby was part of a group focussed on innovation chaired by Farming Minister Mark Spencer MP, working alongside Food Standards Agency chair Professor Susan Jebb, NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy, NFU Cymru President Aled Jones, and Dr Peter Quinn, Chair of the UK Agri-Tech Centre, among others.

He also held conversations with the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt MP, Environment Secretary Steve Barclay MP, the Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton, and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Rebecca Pow MP.

Food security priority

AIC was part of the inaugural Farm to Fork Summit in 2023, representing UK businesses in the Animal Feed, Combinable Crops, Crop Protection & Agronomy, Fertiliser, and Seed sectors which provide essential inputs, advice and services to farmers and growers.

In March, AIC launched its 2024 General Election manifesto, setting out what food supply chain businesses need from the next UK Government.

As part of this AIC is calling for an independent, statutory food security committee to be established, considering the food production and land use balances needed for the UK and all Whitehall departments.

AIC Powering Productivity report UK Food Security Committee graphic.jpg

This was the core recommendation of "Powering Productivity for Sustainable UK Food Security" report published in November 2023 - an independent research paper written by Dr Marcus Bellett-Travers of Anglia Ruskin University, commissioned by the agri-supply trade association to mark its 20th anniversary.

Already many prominent businesses, agri-food industry bodies, politicians and academics have voiced their support for an independent UK food security committee to lift the sector's struggling productivity.

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About AIC

AIC is the UK trade association representing the agricultural supply chain sectors of Animal Feed, Combinable Crops, Crop Protection & Agronomy, Fertiliser, and Seed, since its inception in 2003.

In all, AIC represents Members responsible for some £17.8 billion of farm trade. A significant part of its work is political lobbying and influencing, as well as supporting Members with technical information.

AIC-2024-supply-chain-Manifesto-Diagram.jpg

AIC Services, which is the professional services arm of AIC manages a range of services, including Assurance Schemes and professional registers recognised by the UK Government as essential tools to underpin feed & food safety alongside fertiliser security.

These schemes and professional registers include:

www.agindustries.org.uk

Press Contact

Oli Hill, Communications Manager, AIC 
+44 (0)1733 385230
[email protected]

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Author

Oli Hill

Oli Hill

Communications Manager, AIC

As Communications Manager, Oli creates and oversees the content published on AIC's website, emails, Member briefings, print publications, and social media.

A qualified multimedia journalist, he previously spent six years working at Farmers Weekly magazine as a Senior Reporter on the arable team, and latterly as Community Editor. More recently he was Communications Manager at Red Tractor.

Email:
[email protected]
Phone:
01733 385230
Twitter:
@oliverjhill_
LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/oliverjhill/

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