Food Supply

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 8th July 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 consideration they have given to increasing support for local food webs to improve food security.

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 UK has a high degree of food security built on access to a range of sources including robust supply chains across a range of countries, in addition to strong domestic production. Strong domestic food production is only one part of our food security. We supplement our produce with fruits, vegetables and other products that are difficult to grow and rear here.

The Government recognises the value of local food chains as over half of the food that the UK population consumes is domestically produced. Defra works with a range of local companies and regional food groups to champion local food and highlight the qualities of British food products, such as meat, dairy, and vegetables, as well as fish caught in UK waters. We are proud of our great British food and drink, and the farmers and other producers who provide us all with a reliable and sustainable food supply, renowned for its quality and underpinned by high standards of food safety, traceability and animal welfare.

The Government recognises the important role played by community shops and the vital part they play in many rural communities in supporting vulnerable groups. Defra has been in contact with local authorities and volunteer groups to help prioritise those individuals to access essential food by, among other things, being able to contact smaller food retailers. We recognise and are very grateful for all the work that community shops have done in recent weeks, helping to ensure that people have the food they need.

The Government has asked Henry Dimbleby to lead an Independent Review of the food chain, to develop recommendations to shape a National Food Strategy. It is the intention that this strategy should address major challenges including food security.

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