NFU Scotland President attends 10 Downing Street’s Farm to Fork Summit

15/05/2024
Martin Kennedy at 10 Downing Street

NFUS President Martin Kennedy joined more than 100 UK food and farming representatives and Cabinet Ministers at the second annual Farm to Fork Summit in London. Hosted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP, the event was aimed at recognising the crucial importance of the farming sector while assessing opportunities available to help it progress.

At the 10 Downing Street event today (14 May), the Prime Minister revealed the UK Food Security Index. This new framework has been designed to allow the government, agricultural industry, farmers and crofters to monitor annually impacts of external factors on food production.

President Kennedy welcomed this announcement from the Prime Minister.

He said: “Food security is something we have taken for granted for too long. The impact of severe weather on farms over the past year and the long-running conflict in Ukraine has shown us we need to have food security higher up the agenda.

“The new Food Security Index will hopefully allow the UK government and farming sector prepare themselves for future barriers to sustainable and profitable food production. If we focus on our own food production industry, farmers and crofters will not only deliver for our consumers but we will continue to look after the environment and combat climate change.”

Throughout the event, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held emphasis on technology as the way forward for farming. After a garden reception celebrating UK food production, Mr Kennedy attended a breakout session on growing an innovative sector where gene editing, automation, research and development, net zero innovation, and artificial intelligence, were all discussed. 

As well as this, the Prime Minister also pledged £80 million to support the horticulture sector in a bid to reduce imported product. While President Martin Kennedy was in support of this commitment, it remains unclear whether this will be implemented in all devolved nations.

Mr Kennedy added: “Speaking to representatives from the UK farming sector, UK Farming Union leaders and fellow MPs at Downing Street today, the Prime Minister committed to continue to invest in and support farmers to produce the best of British food to strengthen our food security, championing innovation in the sector.

“We are in an election year, but that is a commitment that we would be looking to any future UK Government to uphold.”

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