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Food

Volume 479: debated on Monday 29 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals to increase food production through (a) agriculture, (b) horticulture, (c) allotments and (d) residential gardens; and if he will make a statement. (224064)

[holding answer 17 September 2008]: Promoting a strong domestic farming sector is central to Defra's work, which is why one of its departmental strategic objectives is "a thriving farming and food sector with an improving net environmental impact".

Defra is spending half its research budget on supporting the farming and food sectors. £27.5 million is aimed at resource management in farming and food industries, including energy and water use, and on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Government are working with food producers and processors to help prevent animal and plant disease, and with the farming industry to ensure there are enough workers with the right skills through the Skills for Farming project.

The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit's recent study entitled “Food Matters: Towards a Strategy for the 21st century” published in July this year, identified a number of areas requiring further examination by the Government. Defra is taking forward the report's recommendation on the need for a sustainable vision to guide future food policy in conjunction with the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the extent to which the UK was self-sufficient in food production in each year since 1997, broken down by (a) type of food and (b) indigenous types of food. (224218)

[holding answer 17 September 2008]: The UK self-sufficiency ratio for all food and indigenous type food is given in the following table.

UK self-sufficiency in:

All food

Indigenous-type food

1997

68

82

1998

67

82

1999

68

82

2000

67

80

2001

63

75

2002

62

76

2003

63

77

2004

62

75

2005

60

73

2006

59

72

20071

61

74

1 Provisional.

Information on production as a percentage of total supply for selected commodities is given in the following table. These estimates are not directly comparable with the headline measures of self-sufficiency since they are volume rather than unprocessed value based, are not adjusted for feed, seed and livestock and do not include processed food.

UK production as a percentage of total new supply for use in the UK

Cereals

Fresh vegetables

Potatoes

Fresh fruit

Beef and veal

Pork

Bacon and ham

Mutton and lamb

Poultry meat

Eggs

1997

113

70

91

10

77

118

51

95

96

95

1998

115

71

88

9

83

122

52

98

93

97

1999

109

72

90

12

80

108

52

101

91

95

2000

113

71

87

10

79

99

46

98

89

91

2001

97

67

81

11

72

79

44

78

91

89

2002

99

64

83

9

71

81

43

85

91

87

2003

113

63

82

8

70

71

43

86

91

84

2004

103

62

81

9

70

73

42

85

88

85

2005

103

60

85

10

74

70

44

90

88

86

2006

102

59

88

11

80

68

45

88

87

83

200071

100

58

79

11

82

69

42

82

90

81

1 Provisional.