A new UK prime minister has been nominated to succeed Boris Johnson, Liz Truss the previous Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom. Liz Truss will have to face several challenges among which is a broken agriculture industry and a relative reluctance from growers in the country.
Indeed, a recent Natwest report highlighted that 99% of farmers and growers were facing an ongoing expense increase above the UK CPI Inflation rate of 9% with important expenses skyrocketing such as energy, and fertilizers exceeding the national inflation rate.
Ian Burrow, Head of Agriculture at NatWest Group, said: “Climate change is a global challenge, but the farming industry can play a critical part in helping the UK reach Net Zero. We are aware that our customers within the sector are keen to take action against climate change and many have already – for instance, changing cultivation practices to minimum tillage or no-till, growing cover crops, growing mixed-species grass swards, challenging themselves to improve the productivity of their livestock enterprises, precision applications of fertilizer, and using organic manure more effectively along with planting trees and hedgerows.”
Many farmers have pointed out the sheer increase in electricity bills which, in some cases, increased above 100% compared to last year.
This adds to the labor issues experienced by the industry in the UK, in the second quarter of 2022, out of the 512 farms with horticulture that responded, 341 had no need for seasonal labour (67%). Of the 171 survey respondents who did need labour, 45% reported a shortfall. The average shortfall for the entire quarter per farm with horticulture that needed seasonal labour was 114 person days. This equates to an 8% shortfall.
She also faces other challenges linked to her envy to ‘deregulate’ the UK market and establish free trades with foreign countries. This spiked certain fears amongst farmers union throughout the UK and Scotland as shown by the NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy in an interview with The Scotish Farmer: “She needs to address the ‘brutal here and now’ facing farming and food production, whilst delivering an ‘unequivocable commitment’ to the importance of UK food security.”