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EFRA Select Committee "Securing UK Food Supplies to 2050"

An Inquiry (started December 08) by EFRA (Environmental Food & Rural Affairs) Select Committee of MPs' looked into the challenges for the UK in securing food supplies up to 2050.

The inquiry asked:
• How robust is the current UK food system? What are its main strengths and weaknesses?

• How well placed is the UK to make the most of its opportunities in responding to the challenge of increasing global food production by 50% by 2030 and doubling it by 2050, while ensuring that such production is sustainable?

The Inquiry concluded that the UK needs to produce "more food, more sustainably". "The UK has a moral obligation to contribute to the global challenge of securing future food supplies". 'If people go hungry then political stability goes out of the window. This is a key lesson that Defra must learn from last year’s food price hike when some countries ran short of food. What happened showed just how fine the line is between full supermarket shelves and empty stomachs,' said Committee Chairman the Rt Hon Michael Jack MP."


Written Evidence to Committee (all 70 Memoranda from CLA, NFU, Friends of Earth etc). 

Webcams of oral evidence (Oral evidence in writing)

Session Oral Evidence Main points
May 7 DEFRA Team (Benn, May Watson) * "No Ifs No buts, need to produce as much as possible". But dont say what, where or how much.
April 1 EU Agricultural Policy Markets should be able to respond to increase production in foreseeable future
Mar 30 Soil Association Little R&D funding for the ‘agroecological approaches’ and techniques for 'organic and low-input systems’
Mar 18 Natural England We can provide enough for all provided we look after our environment.
Mar 4 NFU, CLA & Fisherfolk NFU say "increase productivity", Country Landowners Association say we must include the environment. Fisherfolk say scientists must work with fishers..
Feb 25 Tesco and Unilever
(with Food & Drink Federation)
Tesco have not thought about 'Food Security' in 20-30 years time. Unilever say "beware biofuels".
Feb 4 Chatham House Rothamsted/Warwick WRI Chatham House: "why bother increasing UK production on a few fields in East England when we could lever our science worldwide?" (exact quote)
Jan 28 Tim Lang & John Beddington TL to provide definition of "Food Security". JB regretted the demise of science base for Ag/Hort particularly citing Wye College closure.

* Our EP@W Director, Dr Charlie Clutterbuck, was the Specialist Adviser to the EFRA Committee for this report and is visible, just once - at beginning of May 7 when DEFRA come in! (Top left second down....)


The UK government responded the to this EFRA report setting up a consultation on the matters raised.

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