Increased production of fruits and vegetables on UK farms is necessary for ensuring food security.

The UK farming sector is currently experiencing a period of productivity like never before. According to a recent index, domestic production of all food in the UK is at approximately 60% of consumption, marking a significant milestone in the industry’s history. However, not all sectors are faring equally well, with the fruit and vegetable sector notably lagging behind meat, dairy, and grains.

To address this disparity, the UK government has announced plans to boost the horticulture sector, committing to double public funding to £80 million, with £10 million specifically designated for orchard growers in England. This move has been met with cautious optimism by industry leaders, who have long advocated for increased support for horticulture.

Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association, praised the government’s initiative, stating that more funding for horticulture has been a longstanding priority. She emphasized the importance of promoting British fruit and vegetable consumption, citing statistics that reveal only 33% of adults and 12% of children meet the recommended “five a day” servings of fruits and vegetables.

Retailers have also welcomed the government’s support for the horticulture sector, with Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, pledging to increase the amount of UK produce available in stores as domestic production grows.

Despite these positive developments, farmers across the UK continue to face challenges posed by adverse weather conditions. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has forecasted a 15% decrease in land planted with wheat this year, with an estimated 558,000 hectares of arable land expected to remain fallow – a significant increase from the previous year.

In light of these circumstances, industry stakeholders are hopeful that the government’s investment in the horticulture sector will help bolster productivity and resilience in the face of ongoing challenges. By supporting the growth and consumption of British fruit and vegetables, the UK aims to strengthen its food security and sustainability for the future.

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