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Ten Days of Dawn

UK Risks Sleepwalking into Food Supply Crisis

UK Risks Sleepwalking into Food Supply Crisis
folder_openUnited Kingdom access_time2 months ago
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By Staff, Agencies

The UK government risks “sleepwalking” into a food supply crisis unless it provides crucial support for British farmers struggling with the soaring cost of fuel, fertilizer and feed, the National Farmers’ Union warned.

Rising costs could result in supply problems for energy-intensive crops including tomatoes, cucumbers and pears – which are on track for their lowest yields since records began in 1985 – and rationing at supermarkets as recently experienced with eggs, the union said.

The union said milk prices were also likely falling below the cost of production and that beef farmers were weighing whether to cut down on the number of cows being bred for slaughter in light of surging costs.

Surging input costs linked to the war in Ukraine as well as the pandemic were to blame, the NFU said, having more than tripled the price of fertilizer since 2019, and pushed the cost of fuel and feed up by about 75%. That is on top of a six-fold increase in wholesale gas prices, and increased checks and red tape for importers linked to Brexit.

The union is calling for state support for farmers, who it said had been forced out of business since the Covid outbreak, noting that the UK had lost about 7,000 agricultural businesses since 2019.

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