Rebuilding confidence and stability in the UK's food and farming sector must be a Government priority, the NFU has demanded ahead of this week's Autumn Statement.
In a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (November 22), NFU President Minette Batters said the event was an opportunity for the Treasury to British produce for markets at home and abroad, while also reducing food inflation and stimulating green economic growth.
The union has also produced a series of ‘asks' which it is urging the Treasury to consider in order to help food producers. These include: a review of long-term energy contracts; to provide clarity over Agricultural Property Relief; to lead a cross-government taskforce to ensure emerging environmental markets in the UK are well regulated and fit for purpose; and to support environmentally-friendly farming by expanding income streams to fund the Slurry Infrastructure Grant.
Mrs Batters said investment was key to the future success of the sector.
"With farm input costs through the roof, interest rates rising and at least a 50 per cent reduction in the current direct payments in 2023, farmers are facing incredibly challenging economic circumstances.
It is imperative British food and farming has sufficient funding for the capital investments that are needed - whether that is investing in the environment, energy efficiency or productivity. Because farmers and growers want to do more for sustainable food production and the environment, but we can't do either without profitable businesses.
"At this year's Autumn Statement, the Chancellor could really inject some much-needed stability and confidence into the UK's food and farming sector. As well as delivering short-term certainty, the NFU's asks will also help build the foundation for a long-term farming framework, incorporating both public and private finance, to deliver the country's environmental and food security needs."