THE Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) has used the findings of a major report to call for an independent Food Security Committee to be established to shore up the UK agri-food sector’s floundering productivity and sustainably bolster the nation’s food security.

The independent report “Powering Productivity for Sustainable UK Food Security" was commissioned by AIC – the agricultural supply industry’s trade association – on its 20th anniversary, and recommends that a statutory body is set up to provide oversight of the uniquely complex nature of agricultural productivity and food security.

The report, independently authored by Dr Marcus Bellet-Travers of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), was launched at the AIC Conference in Peterborough on November 15 - the agri-food industry’s flagship event.

AIC’s chief executive, Robert Sheasby, said: “The unprecedented supply chain shocks of recent years have exposed the fragility of the UK’s food supply and its deeply concerning lack of security.

"Productivity in the agri-food industry is complicated and no one policy or innovation drives its progression. It is the sheer breadth and complexity laid out by this report which has led AIC to call for the establishment of an independent UK Food Security Committee.”

The Scottish Farmer: Independent Food Security CommitteeIndependent Food Security Committee

Chaired independently, this statutory body would advise the UK and devolved governments on the drivers of food security and report to Parliament on progress made in enhancing the productivity and resilience of the UK’s entire agri-food supply chain – from pre-farm suppliers, farmers, and growers, through to processors, manufacturers, food service and retailers.

Much like the Independent Committee on Climate Change, it would take a cross-UK view of the legislative direction, aiding policy development and collaboration in support of our nation’s food security.

Mr Sheasby added: “The oversight of such a body for the agri-food industry will significantly enhance our national food security for the long term, well beyond short-term parliamentary cycles.

"Developing a clear strategy for food security would provide the certainty that businesses desperately need in order to invest in the UK, facilitating investment in Integrated Pest Management, Nitrogen Use Efficiency, as well as innovation in animal feed and precision breeding.

“AIC is encouraging the entire agri-food sector to back this report’s core recommendation and we look forward to collaborating with industry and government to make it happen.

“There is an open and serious question as to where our nation will find itself in the next 20 years if we fail to act now.”

The demand is set to form a central pillar of AIC’s lobbying efforts as it prepares for a General Election in 2024.