Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 17th June 2022.

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Photo of Carol Monaghan Carol Monaghan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Armed Forces and Veterans), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment her Department has made of the impact of trends in the level of imports on food security and availability in the UK.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources; strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. We produce 60% of all the food we need, and 74% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year, and these figures have changed little over the last 20 years.

UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report (UKFSR) was published in December 2021.

The UKFSR is an analysis of statistical data on food security in the UK. The report examines past, current and predicted trends relevant to food security, to present the best available and impartial analysis of food security in the UK, and to lay the groundwork for future Food Security Reports. While constructing the UKFSR, Defra consulted widely with leading food security experts in academia and engaged extensively with Government bodies and the devolved administrations. This information and the statistics used throughout the report informed its key findings.

The Government published its first ever food strategy on 13 June, outlining our plans to transform our food system to ensure it is fit for the future. Food security sits at the heart of the strategy. We want to create a sustainable food system, from farm to fork and catch to plate, seizing on the opportunities before us and ensuring that everyone has access to nutritious and healthier food.

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