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Food Supply

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what method his Department uses to calculate the level of (a) domestic self-sufficiency in food production and (b) domestic food consumption; and what the level of each was in each of the last 20 years. (261635)

Self-Sufficiency in food is calculated as UK food production, adjusted for trade in agricultural inputs of feed, seed and livestock, as a proportion of UK food consumption. The measure is based on the farm-gate value of unprocessed food.

The formula used is:

[Self-Sufficiency]=

[Adjusted UK food production]

[UK food production] + [Food imports]—[Food exports]

A related measure is the proportion of UK Consumption Produced in the UK, which is calculated as food produced and consumed in the UK as a proportion of UK food consumption. As with the measure of self-sufficiency this is based on the farm-gate value of unprocessed food.

The formula used is:

[Proportion of UK Consumption Produced in the UK]=

[UK food production]—[Food exports]

[UK food production] + [Food imports]—[Food exports]

Both the calculations for Self-Sufficiency and the Proportion of UK Consumption Produced in the UK use the same data sources. Food production data are sourced from DEFRA’s UK agricultural accounts. Import and export data are provided by HMRC. Revaluation factors are applied to trade data to convert the value of processed goods back to the farm-gate value of their raw ingredients, and these are constructed from ONS input-output tables.

The two calculations are similar but have two important differences. The main difference is that Self-Sufficiency includes food that the UK exports, which could have been consumed, whereas the Proportion of UK Consumption Produced in the UK looks purely at the breakdown of food that the UK does actually consume. A further, much smaller difference is the adjustment made to UK food production in the Self Sufficiency calculation.

UK self sufficiency in food and proportion of UK consumption produced in the UK

Percentage

Self-sufficiency in all food

Self-sufficiency in indigenous food

Proportion of UK consumption produced in the UK

1988

71.1

82.6

66.3

1989

74.8

86.9

66.8

1990

73.6

85.0

66.2

1991

75.3

86.7

66.5

1992

73.9

85.1

64.2

1993

73.5

85.4

63.3

1994

73.5

86.1

62.7

1995

73.8

86.7

61.8

1996

70.0

83.2

59.9

1997

68.2

81.6

57.5

1998

67.3

81.5

55.7

1999

67.6

81.6

56.6

2000

66.8

80.3

56.3

2001

62.7

75.1

55.6

2002

62.5

75.5

53.8

2003

63.6

76.7

53.3

2004

62.5

75.1

53.2

2005

60.1

73.1

50.6

2006

59.0

72.0

48.9

2007

59.4

72.4

49.7

2008

1

1

1

1 2008 figures not available yet. 2008 Self-Sufficiency figures to be published online in Agriculture in the UK on 26 March 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward a programme of measures to ensure security of supply of (a) food and (b) water resources for the UK during the period 2010 to 2030. (266145)

DEFRA published a discussion paper in July last year entitled “Ensuring UK Food Security in a Changing World”. This has contributed to the debate on the long-term challenges to our food security such as climate change, increased demand and population growth, and the energy dependence of our food supply. The Government are taking a risk-based approach to ensuring we remain food secure in the UK, and is consulting on indicators to provide timely information about the key components of our food security.

This work is proceeding with efforts that DEFRA is leading jointly with the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency to define a vision for a sustainable food system. This vision will complement the work of the foresight study led by the Government’s chief scientific adviser to examine how our inter-dependent world can feed nine billion people sustainably, healthily and equitably by 2050.

The Government have introduced a requirement on the water companies in England and Wales to prepare water resources management plans. These plans will show the measures needed to ensure secure water supplies for the period 2010-35. The plans have been consulted upon in draft; statements of responses to the consultation have been published for all English companies. In light of the statements, Ministers will consider the need for hearings or inquiries, and whether or not to direct changes to plans before they are finalised.