UK farms must grow more fruit and veg for food security

It said that the index showed that generally the UK farming sector is at “its most productive since records began” and that domestic production of all food in the UK is at around 60% of consumption.

But it said that the UK fruit and vegetable sector is “significantly lagging behind” meat, dairy and grains.

It is now looking to “turbocharge” the UK’s horticulture sector, including doubling public funding to £80m – with £10m given to orchard growers – in England.

Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association, gave a cautious welcome to the news.

She told the BBC: “Many of us have been calling for more funding, more support for horticulture, for a very long time and so finally we are getting somewhere with this.

“Whether the money is going to be enough I don’t know but we have to recognise that only 33% of adults and 12% of children eat their “five a day” so it’s in the nation’s interest that we support growing and consuming more British fruit and veg wherever we possible can.”

Meanwhile, farmers of all types, across all parts of the UK, are still struggling with the impacts of the wet weather.

Industry body the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has estimated that 15% less land will be planted with wheat this year, and an estimated 558,000 hectares of arable land will remain fallow, up from 311,000 hectares last year.

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