Food security cannot be guaranteed in a post-Brexit world, according to NFU Scotland (NFUS) chief executive Scott Walker.
In his address to the union’s annual meeting he highlighted recent vegetable shortages, and said that until now consumers had taken food security for granted.
“This week has provided a wake-up call to all those who do not take food security seriously,” he said.
“Could you imagine the political storm if headlines had been about no beef, no bread or no milk instead of no lettuce or courgettes?”
Mr Walker said UK food security levels had fallen from 75% in 1991 to 62% now, and August 14 marks the day in the year when the British larder would be bare if the nation was fed on British food alone.
He added: “The supply chains are very vulnerable. As we debate our post-Brexit future, the clear message for policymakers is a robust production base is essential, food security is important and supply chains that deliver a fair reward to all are a must.”
Mr Walker stated that while Brexit is the biggest call on the NFUS resource, it would not deflect from the union’s primary purpose of driving profitability and growth for farmers.
“We want to sell our Scottish products for a premium price based on our high production standards and our provenance. There are others out there looking to do the same and we only have to look across the water to Ireland to see what the competition looks like,” he said.
“Post-Brexit, the need for market access and properly functioning supply chains will be more important than ever. This is a core objective for NFUS in the years ahead.”