According to a report published by Morrisons, only 52% of food consumed in the United Kingdom is grown by British farmers.
The UK will probably never become totally self sufficient; however, it should become less dependent on global food markets which will protect consumers against international price rises.
The biggest risks to shoppers and farmers are potential trade battles and climate change.
Professor Tim Benton, a researcher for the University of Leeds states that the UK’s decision to leave the EU means that there is a possibility that it may also have to relinquish many of the subsidies that were available to farmers. This will reduce the ‘safety net’ for farmers and may well drive out smaller producers meaning that only the biggest farms will survive.
It appears that England is heading in the same direction as New Zealand when protections and subsidies were taken away from farmers in the 1980s.
There is a risk that the only type of produce that will survive will be the commercial type. This means that there will be an increase in importing certain types of food which will make farms reliant on international prices for the food that they do produce.
Professor Benton says “It only makes sense to build a system that will enable UK farms to produce the majority of food for the country.”
This strategy may mean that food is more expensive because of production costs, but the benefit is that there will be more security and diversity. The price difference should go back to farmers to enhance their sustainability and produce.
In 2015 milk prices declined and dairy farmers complained of the crisis they experienced. During this time, it became more expensive to produce the milk than the actual cost of the milk.
The food industry is one of the many areas that will continue to be negatively affected by Brexit.