The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has urged the UK government to commit to preserving the country’s food self-sufficiency at 60%; food sector organizations have warned that without government aid, the country will face a “worsening food supply chain crisis.” The NFU convened a conference of organizations on December 14, 2021, to discuss the concerns. Staffing shortages will also be taken into account. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) issued the following statement: “The government acted quickly to tackle the challenges to our supply chains”.

“Britain’s farmers are world-leaders in producing climate-friendly food and, over the past 18 months, have been working hard to keep shelves and fridges full despite many being impacted by severe supply chain issues,” said NFU President Minette Batters. “Government has tried to paper over the cracks with short-term fixes, but if we want to avoid this crisis continuing, long-term solutions are urgently needed to ensure a resilient supply chain,” she added. Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, also urged the government to give a “clear strategy” for solving labor shortages as well as a “coherent food policy” to keep UK manufacturing alive. According to a Defra spokeswoman, the government has boosted the number of visas available under the agricultural Seasonal Workers Pilot scheme to 30,000.