Rishi Sunak lays out UK food security plan to withstand climate and war

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech on national security, in London

(Corrects typographical error in headline)

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will set out his plans on Tuesday to improve food security and to cut reliance on imports from other countries.

The government will also publish a new annual UK Food Security Index to track the impacts of external factors, such as the Russia-Ukraine war or extreme weather events.


Britain is expected to hold a national election later in the year, which Sunak's Conservative Party is predicted to lose heavily to the opposition Labour Party.

Like many other countries, it has been hit by surging inflation and a cost of living crisis, stoked in part by the war between Russia and Ukraine hitting grain exports.

Britain's ability to feed itself is set to be reduced by nearly a 10th this year as farmers across the country reel from one of the wettest winters on record, non-profit think tank ECIU said on Monday.


"This package of support will help farmers produce more British food, delivers on our long-term plan to invest in our rural communities, and ensures the very best of our homegrown products end up on our plates," Sunak said.

"I know for many farmers, the impact of adverse weather in recent months has made working the land even harder, but my message is clear, our support for you is unwavering."


Excerpts of the Food Security Index released ahead of its full publication show the country produced about 17% of the fruit and 55% of the vegetables consumed by British households.

(Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Alison Williams)