Shoppers accustomed to well-stocked supermarket shelves barely pause to consider how food makes its journey from farms to their tables, and successive governments have long been guilty of assuming agriculture will somehow continue to thrive without them needing to offer support.
That is far from being the case, and the concerns raised by a coalition of food producers about a potential crisis in supply chains are a timely intervention that the Government should act on.
Shortages of workers on farms and in transport, allied to inflation that has driven up costs, pose real threats to British agriculture’s ability to produce enough food for the nation. There is also the risk that post-Brexit trade arrangements will see farmers undercut by cheap foreign imports.
The National Farmers’ Union call for the Government to ensure Britain’s self-sufficiency in food production remains at least 60 per cent, and to create a business environment in which agriculture can prosper, should undoubtedly be heeded.
Farming is central to the economy of our region. For the country as a whole, the welfare of agriculture is at the heart of national life. It is incumbent upon the Government to foster close relations with the industry, and have a proper long-term strategy to ensure that supply chains do not continue to face the crises that have beset them.
Our farmers feed the nation, and deserve the highest level of support.