No 10’s Farm to Fork summit misses ‘opportunity to build effective solutions’

Prime minister Rishi Sunak’s Farm to Fork summit – held to to discuss how government and industry can support the UK’s food industry – has been told it missed the “opportunity to build effective solutions”.

Held at 10 Downing Street, the Farm to Fork event was part of the government’s 2022 Food Strategy which committed to create a “sustainable, nature positive, affordable food system that provides choice and access to high quality products that support healthier and home-grown diets for all.”

During the summit, the government announced it would be investing £12.5 million to support projects researching sustainability and resilience on farms in a bid to improve food security and environmental outcomes.

However, Sustain, Soil Association and other organisations issued a joint statement asserting that a number of high-profile food industry leaders were left outside the Farm to Fork summit. The list included Henry Dimbleby, the government’s former food adviser and author of the National Food Strategy.

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In the statement, the organisations argue the lack of collaboration “risks missing the opportunity to build effective solutions which tackle the broad range of challenges facing our food and farming system”.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) also stated that the government needs to be “more ambitious” with its target of maintaining the UK’s self-sufficiency (domestically the UK produces 60% of all the food it needs).

Despite this, NFU president Minette Batters said she was “delighted” by the PM’s commitment, stating that the announcements show “a recognition and an understanding of the strategic importance of British food and farming to the nation”.

Others remain less convinced, with one attendee telling The Guardian the Farm to Fork summit did not discuss the fundamental issues of increasing food prices, saying: “If you are not doing something about the cost of living, cost of production, access to labour and affordability of food then you are never going to fix the overall problem.”

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