'Dig for survival': Farming minister David Heath urges families to grow their own to cope with food shortages

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Wed Apr 17 23:32:54 BST 2013

'Dig for survival': Farming minister David Heath urges families to 
grow their own to cope with food shortage crisis
Government recasts the famous WWII slogan 'dig for victory'
Fruit prices up almost 11% since March 2012, vegetables 7% higher
Farmers warn Britain is running out of wheat after year of bad weather

By Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor PUBLISHED: 11:07, 16 
April 2013  | UPDATED: 23:59, 16 April 2013
Families have been told they will have to grow more of their own 
fruit and vegetables to cope with food shortages.
Farming minister David Heath recast the famous World War Two slogan 
urging Brits to 'dig for victory' with a stark warning of the need to 
'dig for survival' in the future.
New figures today showed fruit prices are more than 10 per cent 
higher than last year with vegetable costs up 6.7 per cent.

Mr Heath warned Britain could not rely on cheap imports to meet its food needs.
Disruption to the food chain triggered by disease, conflict or bad 
weather hitting harvests would drive prices even higher.
Britain is on the verge of running out of wheat after a year of 
terrible wet weather, with more than 2million tonnes lost in last 
summer's deluge.
Farming minister David Heath said Britain could not rely on cheap 
foreign imports
Farmers have also struggled to sow crops for the 2013 harvest, which 
is already predicted to be 25 per cent down on potential production.
Households will have to consider becoming more self-sufficient to 
limit the impact of high costs and bare shelves, Mr Heath warned.
He said: 'With an increasing population, increasing demand not just 
in this country but across the world, we are going to have to 
increase food production.
'We made a huge mistake a few years ago when the idea got around that 
we didn't need to produce in the agricultural sector any more, that 
we would be able to buy our way through whatever was necessary to 
feed the country.
'Once we used to "dig for victory". There may come a time soon when 
we need to "dig for survival".'
New inflation figures published today show how food prices have 
impacted on the cost of living.
While the headline Consumer Prices Index figure remained unchanged on 
2.8 per cent, a detailed breakdown showed how food costs have leapt 
in the last year.
In March 2013, fruit prices were 10.8 per cent higher than in the 
same month last year while vegetables were up 6.7 per cent.
Bread and cereals have risen by 3.6 per cent, meat 2.4 per cent and 
items like sugar, jam and chocolate were 4.1 per cent year-on-year.
New inflation figures revealed how food prices have risen sharply in 
the last 12 months
Mr Heath told the Daily Telegraph that that the idea of the public 
'digging for survival' was 'not overstating it by a lot'.
He added: 'We need to be able to produce enough to deal with the 
requirements in this country. Food security is going to be an issue 
of increasing relevance.
'There is nothing that provides more classical insecurity across the 
world than not being able to feed populations adequately so we need 
to be aware of that and we need to respond to it.'
He suggested that the use of genetically modified crops could be 
significant in securing food supplies in the future. 
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