I was recently invited to attend the second annual Farm to Fork Summit held at Number 10 Downing Street by the Prime Minister.

The event saw the PM convene almost 100 representatives from across the food and farming industry, as well as the DEFRA and Welsh Secretaries of State , for important discussions about food security and the challenges faced by UK farmers over the last 12 months.

For background, the inaugural summit was held last year following a call by the NFU for such an annual event in the run up to the Conservative Party leadership election in 2022. The NFU also lobbied for the publication of a yearly food security index, which I’m pleased to say was launched at this year’s event. It is very welcome that the Prime Minister has delivered on these two requests and that he has elevated the subject of food security to the top of the news agenda.

The publishing of the UK Food Security Index is an important step in measuring food production levels. While I am pleased we now have this metric in place, I’m acutely aware that we must also be looking at the road ahead and not merely at what’s behind us in the rear view mirror. Against the backdrop of the challenges presented by climate change, pressures on the availability of food producing land and a growing UK population, we must also consider how we can work in harmony with the environment and improve efficiencies to ensure we can sustainably grow our food producing capacity to meet demand. When you consider the increasing number of mouths we need to feed here in the UK, a strategy that seeks solely to maintain food production levels is not enough. Food security is vital to our national security and we need to work strategically to ensure that our land is managed effectively to meet the nation’s needs. The extreme weather experienced in many parts of the world, alongside the volatile geo-political climate, are proof enough that we simply cannot afford to be complacent and rely on food imports from other countries.

The prolonged wet weather and its impact on all farming sectors also further highlights why governments in Westminster and Cardiff Bay must implement policies that support farming businesses to be resilient and have confidence to invest in their future.

At NFU Cymru we are committed to working with UK Government and Welsh Government to ensure food production remains at the top of the agenda in the short, medium and long term.