'Short-termism' by retailers is setting the scene for serious food supply problems in the not-too-distant future, Scottish farming leader Martin Kennedy has warned.

At the start of a two-day visit to Westminster to lobby the UK Government on food security, National Farmers Union Scotland president Mr Kennedy said that unless governments and supermarkets woke up to the financial and practical problems now facing the country's primary food producers, they would soon be looking at shortages the like of which hadn’t been seen since World War Two.

Mr Kennedy said: “This perfect storm – and I don’t use the term lightly – driven by Brexit, Covid and now the dreadful war in Ukraine, will have repercussions for years to come. We will continue to play our part as food producers, but we simply cannot do that without proper support and prices for the quality we produce.

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“While farmers and crofters can see this food security issue coming at us, there are many who, sadly, are far too blinkered and only interested in the short term," said Mr Kennedy.

“Agriculture is a long-term industry. We continually plan years ahead, whether it’s to do with soil health, crop rotation or livestock improvement and it is absolutely essential that we put long term plans in place that enable productive agriculture to feed our country.

“For far too long, we have not paid nearly enough attention as a nation to the most important energy source we rely on, which is food, and unless governments and supermarkets wake up soon, we will be looking at food security concerns that we haven’t seen since World War Two."

Mr Kennedy, who is in London with his vice presidents Andrew Connon and Robin Traquair, highlighted the effect that surging costs linked to fertiliser, fuel, energy, animal feed and labour were having on the nation’s ability to produce food.

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“When you look at things like the cost of fertiliser which has had a 300% increase, it’s little wonder farmers across all sectors are looking to pull back on production," he said. “Add into the mix animal feed, fuel, energy and labour costs and it’s plain to see why we are seriously concerned, not just for the survival of our primary producers but also for the whole supply chain both upstream and downstream who rely on the critical mass of production to keep their and other businesses in the rural economy afloat." He suggested to the public that the local council elections gave everyone a chance to raise the issue of food security: "We are already working with local authorities to promote local sourcing for public procurement, and this must be at the core of the Good Food Nation Bill as it continues its journey through Scottish Parliament.

“I would also ask you to vote with your feet when it comes to purchasing food to ensure you are supporting Scottish and British products," said Mr Kennedy. "That way we might have a chance of not only retaining our own food supply, but by doing so, we will also maintain the environment and landscape we have here in Scotland that’s the envy of many across the world.”