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NSA highlights importance of buying British food amid challenging weather and increased imports

16th August 2023

Looking ahead to this winter, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is encouraging the public and government to work even harder to support British produce.

Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “This summer is proving to be another challenging one in the farming world, with unusually high rainfall in July and August following a prolonged dry spell in June. There are regional differences but for many the harvest of grains and forage is a tense ordeal and the impact across the country could be felt with the availability and quality of forage, bedding and catch crops starting to creep into the minds of livestock producers.

“The ongoing conflict in Ukraine, global economic conditions, access to vaccines and continued inflation in input prices is making its mark across industry at the same time as we are seeing continued pressure from retailers to try to limit food inflation. There is a crunch point here that could affect long term food security and sustainability, and NSA wishes to encourage members to start planning for what could be a long winter – and the wider supply chain to support our farmers.”

“I cannot stress enough the importance of consumers being able to access high quality, affordable British food that is also beneficial to our countryside and farming communities. Sheep and goat meat imports from New Zealand to the EU jumped by 18% year-on-year in the first four months of 2023, according to new figures. NSA is keen to see retailers across the board, along with government, champion British food.

“British lamb needs the support of our government and supply chains in ensuring our product maintains domestic market share in light of recent free trade agreements. We potentially have a mountain to climb this winter. The agricultural industry is combating a period of extreme and unprecedented volatility within the marketplace, supply chains and input costs – so now is the time to champion British.”