Fruit and Vegetables: Production

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 5th June 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the availability of a diverse range of UK-grown vegetables and fruit in areas local to their production.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government recognises the crucial role the UK's horticulture industry plays in both feeding the country and in promoting people's health and wellbeing. The UK has the climate, the landscape, and entrepreneurial farmers and growers to enable us to produce world-class fruit and vegetables.

We are proud of our growing food reputation. Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs), whether they be for beef from Scotland, lamb from Wales or asparagus from the Vale of Evesham in England, play an important role as exemplars of our quality produce. We are committed to celebrating the success of these regional and traditional products whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed, along with driving further market access to make sure they are enjoyed here and around the world.

We will always champion our farmers and growers, supporting them to grow more of our great British food and to provide a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public. This includes through using powers under our landmark Agriculture Bill, and through our work with the Food and Drink Sector Council, a formal industry partnership with the Government, helping to create a more productive and sustainable food and drink sector.

The UK has a high degree of food security, built on access to a range of sources including strong domestic production and imports from other countries. Half of the food we eat is produced in the UK. The rest of our food is imported, with 30% coming from the EU and 20% from other countries. The UK's current production to supply ratio is 75% for indigenous-type foods and 61% for all foods. We produce 61% - 75% of our food supply, but some of that is exported.

Under the current EU State Aid rules we have been unable to promote our home produced food and drink to the domestic market in Government sponsored campaigns nationally. However, we continue to work with regional food groups to showcase their top-quality produce locally; tying this up where we can with stakeholder initiatives (such as those of the AHDB), focussing on provenance and the UKs world-leading standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection.

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