Government bodies spend around £1.8 billion on the procurement of food every year. Here at Countryside, we believe it is of great importance that the food that the country produces is served to the citizens of the UK at every opportunity.
What is the public procurement?
Public procurement is the procurement of goods, services and works on behalf of a public authority, such as a government agency. Public procurement covers all the purchasing of goods all government departments such as the Department of Health (NHS), the Department of Education, the care sector, the Ministry of Defence, and HM Prison Service.
The NFU works on behalf of its members to engage with the public sector to ensure that they make full use of our world-leading food and farming industry in order to deliver safe, traceable, affordable, nutritious food.
Why should government source from British farmers and growers?
The UK food and farming industry makes a fundamental contribution to our economy, providing millions of jobs and supporting rural and urban communities up and down the country. By sourcing from British farmers, you are investing in the future of farming.
Food and agriculture form an important part of the UK’s landscape, heritage, and culture. By investing in the nation’s food production system, the government can capitalise on the benefits which our agri-food economy delivers, whether in terms of food safety and production standards, environmental protection, or animal welfare.
It is vitally important that children, patients, military personnel, individuals in the care sector alongside prisoners have access to safe and nutritious food. British farmers produce food to world-leading standards and its important that we serve high quality food within the public sector.
British farmers work hard to enhance the British countryside, maintain habitats for native plants and animals, maintain footpaths, protect watercourses, and support wildlife species.
Wildflower meadow on farmland (picture credit: Hedgelink)
Just as we depend on the UK’s farmland for the food we eat every day, so does the country’s wildlife. And with 71% of land in the UK managed by farmers, it is easy to see what an important role they play in helping to protect and encourage wildlife and habitats.
The UK has one of the most robust and comprehensive legal frameworks protecting animals on farms, extremely mature and well-developed industry bodies that recognise the importance of animal welfare, and a significant number of credible quality assurance and welfare schemes.
Tackling climate change is incredibly important, therefore the NFU has set a goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040. By sourcing British food, you are one step closer to shorter and more sustainable supply chains.
What can I do to help?
- Write to your MP on why it is important for your local authority, school, hospital should support British farmers.
- Sign up to be a Back British Farming supporter here.