Health, Speeches

Food Supply and Security

Posted by Lord Sheikh

My Lords, the pandemic has caused severe disruptions in our agriculture, fishery and dairy sectors, as well as the processing of foodstuffs. Furthermore, it has created difficulties in regard to the importation of food and beverages from abroad. We import about 47% of our food supplies from ?different parts of the world. The pandemic has been worldwide, and a lot of countries have been affected. In addition, international transport systems have been severely impaired. However, we must give credit to our companies, which work hard to import food by cargo planes. We should also appreciate the efforts made by Heathrow and other airports.

Millions of people in the country are vulnerable, while others are in self-isolation. Given the undoubted difficulty for those people in going to shops, we must appreciate that supermarkets and other suppliers have put into practice ways of getting food to them. We should also pay tribute to a number of charities, organisations and individuals who have helped to provide food and provisions to people who are in need of assistance.

The farmers have problems in getting fruit and vegetable pickers. Can my noble friend the Minister say what help can be provided to farmers to find staff? I would like to see some revision to our Immigration Rules regarding this problem.

Finally, as someone who is particular about what he eats, I would like to see steps taken to encourage people to eat sensibly. That needs to be looked into further. Unfortunately, we have problems with obesity and illness, in both children and adults.


Link to full debate on Hansard.

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