Victory for Standard campaign against food waste on farms as Sunak announces £15m to redirect surplus produce

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The Evening Standard has welcomed Rishi Sunak’s announcement at the National Farmers Union conference on Tuesday that the Government is allocating £15 million to redirect farm surplus food to people suffering food insecurity.

It directly follows our campaign last year to end the problem of perfectly good farm produce being wasted while 13 million people, including four million children, face food insecurity.

Together with the country’s two largest food surplus distributors FareShare and The Felix Project, we exposed how 2.9 million tonnes of good-to-eat farm produce is being burned, buried in landfill, or sent to plants to produce biogas – enough for 7 billion meals.

We revealed that an area nearly half the size of Wales produces crops that never get eaten and we called instead for it to be given to the hungry in a win-win outcome that reduced both waste and poverty.

Today the Government has listened and the Prime Minister has announced, as part of a wider stimulus package to help farmers, a new measure in which “£15 million is being allocated to redirect surplus food to those who need it”. Further details fleshing out the pilot scheme will be announced in due course.

George Wright, CEO of FareShare, said: “We are thrilled that after years of campaigning, the Government will be committing £15m towards food surplus redistribution, getting surplus food from our farms to people who need it instead of letting it go to waste.

“Farmers want their edible surplus produce to feed people. This funding has the potential to make an enormous difference to people and communities across the country. We look forward to working with the Government, farmers and the surplus food redistribution sector to put plans into place that will deliver a rapid impact.”

Charlotte Hill, CEO of the Felix Project, said: “It’s a travesty that the farmers invest so much money, time and heart in growing food that has not been feeding people. This £15 million funding will make a real difference to our work stopping quality food from being wasted, and getting it instead to those most in need.

“We are delighted that the Government has answered our call to take this common-sense step, making sure food makes it to hungry people’s plates. We look forward to helping make this commitment a reality.”