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30 November 2016 09:21:06 |News,Shows and Events,Supermarkets

British farming too reliant on food imports, needs to 'produce more', says Sainsbury's

Judith Batchelar, Sainsbury’s brand director

Judith Batchelar, Sainsbury’s brand director

The British farming sector needs to 'produce more' and is now more than ever dependent on food imports, Judith Batchelar, Sainsbury’s brand director has said.
In 2013 the UK was 55 per cent self-sufficient in vegetable production and 10 per cent self-sufficient in fruit production, according to Defra's horticultural statistics. Overall, self-sufficiency in fresh produce has decreased from 46 per cent in 2000 to 34 per cent in 2013.
The latest statistics reveal the UK is around 60 per cent self-sufficient in food, it produces enough food to last for 219 days. In 1991 self-sufficiency was 75 per cent and the figure has also dropped by two per cent since last year.
Speaking to the Sainsbury's farming conference, she said the UK is more exposed than it has ever been to the export trade, "we have to produce more."
"We need to build a much more resilient food system, we are starting to live the new industrial revolution through big data, the internet of things and cloud computing.
"We need to get our fair share of what the government is putting into the new industrial strategy," she said.
Mike Coupe, Sainsbury's chief executive said it was important for government to recognise that the UK food industry is the biggest employer and exporter.
"We're working with the representative groups including the NFU and British Retail Consortium to make sure our views are represented."

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