The headline figure is that we only provide 62% of the country's food supply. And this is set to get worse. The UK is on course to become the most populous country in the European Union - an estimated 77million people by 2040 - and official figures suggest our ability to feed ourselves will drop to just 53% by then. So, my message today is: it is time to Back British Farming.
As a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee in the European Parliament I have questioned the wisdom behind aspects of the CAP's aims and implementation and I intend to be no less vocal on its contribution to the growing problem of land grabbing in the EU. Inequality is a growing curse in society: a growing inequality in land ownership will only exacerbate matters further.
We are living in an age where organic eating is becoming increasingly more popular in Britain. Local farmers markets and organic food cafes are the 'in thing' meaning consumers can enjoy a more personable and educational experience, knowing where their food has come from and that local farmers are supported in the process.
This is the first time MRSA of livestock origin has been found in British pig meat. The findings add to the growing evidence that overuse of antibiotics in farming is contributing to resistance in life-threatening infections in humans, and supports the call for urgent action to address inappropriate use in farming.
Agricultural development through productivity improvements, crop intensification, irrigation, and investment in infrastructure has significantly improved food security and the seasonal dimension of hunger worldwide in recent years. Yet seasonal hunger still persists among the rural poor, and should not be lost within poverty statistics or forgotten when addressing chronic hunger in policymaking.
The next few months will see the closest fought election in a generation. Already the economy, welfare, health and education have been occupying headline space as some of the most important issues which affect people and therefore their vote. But where is food in this debate? More importantly, where is safe, secure, traceable British food?
Feeding a growing global population of nine billion people by 2050 is one of the world's biggest challenges--especially in the context of rapid urbanisation, rising amounts of food waste and climate change. During one day of discussions senior executives from agribusiness, policymaking and the NGO community examined approaches to food and nutrition security.
When it was broadcast on the radio "eat less" came out as a ridiculous blunder - as if I had said that people who were hungry or could only afford to eat hamburgers should eat less. Of course poor people don't have any choice. Half the world is hungry, poverty increases; everyone is so worried. Therefore people were angry with me. Luckily the press then reported my interview in full and this cleared up what I was really trying to say. They quoted me, "What's good for the planet is good for people". Most importantly the press then posted the fundamental question: Is Big Ag.( agricultural capitalism) good or bad? This is the urgent debate we must have.
As more and more stories of human trafficking appear in newspapers and on television, consumers are increasingly asking what they can do to fight this problem. Many are frustrated, and feel disconnected from the people who make the clothes they wear or pick the fruit they eat, toiling in foreign countries and even on distant continents thousands of kilometres from the stores and markets where the products are sold...
It is undoubtedly a very frustrating and worrying time for British dairy farmers. Milk prices are plummeting. With increased milk supply around the world and demand not increasing at the same pace, huge pressure has been put on milk values. For some it means they are now only getting around 25 pence-per-litre for their product. With the cost of production sitting much higher than this it is no wonder that many fear for the future of their farm businesses... What we also know is that it is clear that the British public want to back British farming and continue to support British dairy farmers during this difficult time.
Farmers have little to cheer about; politicians even less. But, when an American can evoke an explosion of applause from Iran's most elite agricultural researchers at the suggestion that all of mankind is capable of standing together to address common challenges, the possibilities for a more peaceful world becomes limitless.