It is an old adage – sadly now all but forgotten – that the first duty of a government is to ensure a nation's food supply.

Years of plenty and cheap imports allowed this to slip down the agenda, but in the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine, we came tantalisingly close to the importance of food security again being recognised.

Like watching a game where your team is ahead against the odds, the lead began to slip away. Eventually, the victory farmers felt was in their grasp, evaporated.

In the UK, normal service has been resumed. Government policy remains focussed on cheap food from easy trade deals. Farming is again not being viewed as a strategically important industry.

For too many politicians, its value is seen not in food production but as a vehicle to deliver green outcomes. The security of the nation's food supply is once again being taken for granted and the political importance of food security is again being ignored at Westminster.

This represents the squandering of yet another post-Brexit opportunity. Outside the EU and its single market regulations, the UK could have developed a green, efficient and productive farming industry focussed on quality and short supply chains.

That is a gain that has slipped away and few politicians display any regret over this wasted opportunity.

Food security has slipped so far down the list, that it is now right off the UK political agenda. In the EU, it has also slipped from topping the agenda, but within the European Commission and European Parliament it remains a potent issue.

Many politicians in Europe understand the reality that food security can co-exist with green thinking. Supporting local food production is greener by a long way than bringing lamb, beef or dairy products from quite literally the other side of the world.

For much of Europe, the scare created by the fallout from Russian aggression in Ukraine feels very real. That is why food security remains a relevant political issue.

This reflects the fact that many EU member states are much more at risk from future Russian aggression than the UK. The Westminster 'business as usual' approach would not wash in Europe.

European politicians recognise that the threat to food security is a problem delayed, rather than a problem solved.

This was reflected in a major state of union speech from the farm commissioner, Janusz Wojiechowski, who put food security at the top of his list of the four cornerstones of EU food and farming. The others were stability, sustainability and solidarity.

His comments were a boost for farmers and words that many in agriculture here would love to hear from a UK politician. The commissioner made no bones about it – the fact that Europe has a secure supply of quality food is entirely down to farmers.

He added that Covid-19 and all the fallout from Russian aggression in Ukraine had tested this, but farmers had responded to the challenge and maintained Europe's food supply. This is ultimately what food security is all about and his views confirm why Fortress Europe as a concept in food still exists.

MEPs in the European Parliament's agriculture committee have also been turning their thoughts to food security. In the famous words of Baldrick in Blackadder, they believed they had a 'cunning plan' to keep this issue high on the political agenda.

This was based on the twin goals of food security and independence as a result of reduced reliance on imports, particularly for protein crops. The MEPs said Covid and the war in Ukraine had exposed significant structural problems in European agriculture.

Their report went as far as backing the EU holding strategic food stocks on behalf of member states. MEPs say an EU protein and feed strategy should be a part of this plan, so that farmers become less dependent on imports.

The report advocated the use of new breeding techniques – gene editing – to make crops more resilient and so reduce the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.

Also called within the report, was for more encouragement for precision farming on smaller farms, reduced food waste and continued financial support for the fallout in agriculture from the war in Ukraine.

On trade deals, the report called for food and agricultural products to be granted a dedicated chapter in agreements, so that the give and take to buy a deal is more evident to those deciding whether or not to approve it.