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This conference discussed priorities for food security in the UK.
Delegates assessed the way forward for policy, strategy and stakeholder action in order to improve domestic food production and resilience, alongside the maintenance of a robust international food supply.
There was discussion on innovative approaches to underpinning a food-secure future, as well as addressing household food insecurity issues in the context of cost of living challenges.
Key stakeholders and policymakers discussed next steps, drawing on policy developments including:
- the Government Food Strategy - which sets out the future approach to food security, resilience and sustainable food production
- development of a Land Use Framework - expected to be published later this year
- the ongoing Food Security Inquiry - by the EFRA Select Committee, regarding security issues and pressures in the food supply chain
- the first United Kingdom Food Security Report - from Defra, as part of its obligation within the Agriculture Act 2020, with calls for a report to be published more regularly than every three years
We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with Dr Riaz Bhunnoo, Director, Global Food Security Programme, UKRI; Sue Pritchard, Chief Executive, Food, Farming and Countryside Commission; Sue Davies, Strategic Policy Advisor, Which?; and Anna Taylor, Executive Director, The Food Foundation.
Overall, areas for discussion included:
- food market stability: the future balance of domestic and international supply chains in the context of challenges around geopolitical, environmental and international market factors
- managing risk: strategic options for industry and policy - building stable and resilient supply chains - mitigating impacts of climate change on the availability of produce
- industry support: what is needed for primary producers and others in the supply chain to bolster UK food production in the context of rising production and other costs
- land use: next steps for developing approaches to land management that support domestic food security
- gene editing and alternative proteins: research and development priorities - consumer trust and engagement - innovative approaches to domestic food production
- household food insecurity: tackling health inequality - affordability and accessibility of healthy foods - priorities for local authorities - issues around cost of living and public engagement
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the CCC; CCS; CMA; DAERA, NI; Defra; DBT; DESNZ; DHSC; Environment Agency, NI; FCDO; FSA; FSS; GLD; Isle of Man Government; POST; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government - as well as parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons.