Farming - a Case of National Security

Article excerpt

When former Defence chiefs attacked the Government recently for its parsimonious attitude towards the armed services they received much sympathetic publicity. They argued that, for years, the services have been deprived of necessary equipment, to the point where effectiveness has been gravely undermined and national security put at risk.

Other aspects of national security are suffering, too, though they may not involve people risking their lives. Farming is a case in point. We used to produce much of our food but, increasingly, we have come to depend on imports - which now account for more than half of our consumption.

But the risks of importing are becoming clear, as changes in global demand and land-use practices make foreign supplies increasingly unreliable and expensive.

The same considerations apply even more to fuel and energy. Farm-produced biofuels have an important role, and the case for them is further reinforced by concerns about carbon emissions.

It seems obvious that a strong farming industry should be a political priority, yet there is plenty of evidence to support the feeling among farmers that the Government is not on their side. …