Should the UK be making a contribution to food supply in the light of the increased global demand for food?
Nationally it should be at least maintaining present levels of food production on the grounds of food security, improving the food trade balance and to the environmental and social benefits of local food.
Internationally there is a moral imperative for the UK to be involved not only through UK agricultural production but also in supporting developing countries through R&D and skills training
In view of its production capacity it is arguable that the UK contribution should be to increase its production in line with projected increases in global demand, namely a 50% increase in food production by 2030 and a doubling by 2050
It is accepted that production increases have to be achieved with targeted reductions in the environmental impacts of production systems and this will be extremely challenging
Policies that lead to land being taken out of agriculture or to a de-intensification of food production systems (reduced output per hectare of land) are illogical as they lead inevitably to a greater reliance on imported food
Reducing UK production and increasing reliance on other countries to produce our food, using their energy, water and soil resources would represent an opt-out by the UK from the environmental issues relating to food production, and is a policy that is not sustainable