Food will be wasted on farms as food bank lines get longer

food bank boris harvesting crops

Boris Johnson admitted that the agricultural industry needed pickers as he visited one in Cornwall to harvest crops today (Photo: AFP/Getty/Joel Goodman)

High quality food will be wasted on farms across the UK – as some food banks run out of stock to distribute to gigantic lines of struggling families.

A lack of workers means that crops are not harvested and end up being plowed back into the land, warned the head of the National Farmers Union.

Minette Batters called the situation an “absolute crisis”, saying that “there is nothing more important for a government than being able to feed its people”.

His comments came as Boris Johnson acknowledged that scavengers are needed but insisted the country is in a better position than it was 30 years ago when he visited a farm in Cornwall to pick ‘beautiful zucchinis’ this morning.

Speaking to Times Radio, Batters said: “It’s a growing problem. I know of greenhouses where tomatoes remain unharvested, we know there was a big lettuce crop that was plowed last week.

“The producers are extremely reluctant to put their name on this because it will hugely compromise their business with their contractual relationship going forward.

“There is real nervousness about talking about food waste on farms, but this is happening on a massive scale.

‘We have food banks in full swing and yet we are wasting fantastic quality, nutritious produce on farms.’

EMBARGO FOR 0001 MONDAY MAY 9 File photo dated 10/15/21 of a shopper looking at salad and vegetables at a Waitrose branch in south London.  About one in seven adults live in homes where people skipped meals, ate smaller portions or went hungry all day because they couldn't afford or access food, the research suggests.  Issue date: Monday, May 9, 2022. PA Photo.  The Food Foundation charity said food bank users are increasingly ordering items that don't need to be cooked because they are worried about how they will pay rising energy bills.  See the history of PA SOCIAL Food.  Photo credit must be: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

The cost-of-living crisis has left some choosing between eating and heating (Credit: PA)

Volunteers work to assemble food packages to be distributed to customers attending Bradford Central Foodbank in Bradford, North England on May 24, 2022. - Bradford Central Foodbank is helping twice as many people compared to pre-pandemic , with soaring prices for energy, food and other basics leaving growing numbers of Britons struggling.  (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP) / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY JOE JACKSON (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Volunteers work to assemble food packages to be distributed to customers attending the Bradford Central Foodbank in Bradford (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson works with vegetable pickers as they harvest zucchinis during a visit to Southern England Farms Ltd in Hayle, southwest England, June 13, 2022, ahead of publication of the White Paper by UK government food strategy.  (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson works with vegetable pickers as they harvest zucchinis during a visit to Southern England Farms Ltd in Hayle, southwest England (Photo: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

One study warned that the number of people using food banks has jumped from one in 10 to nearly one in six since last year amid the cost-of-living crisis.

There has been a rise in prices since Vladimir Putin sent troops to war in Ukraine, which is a major world supplier of grain.

A government report recently acknowledged that labor shortages “caused by Brexit and accentuated by the pandemic” were severely affecting the country’s food and agricultural sector.

But Batter said the labor shortage is not just related to the post-Brexit shortage of seasonal workers.

Saying the issue extends ‘from farm to fork’, she added: ‘Having a business in the UK is becoming extremely problematic.’

The prime minister has pledged to support British farmers to increase domestic food production, create new jobs and expand the economy.

Launching the government’s new food strategy on his visit to a zucchini and broccoli farm on Monday, he said: ‘What they need is people to pick the zucchinis.

‘Now this is so different from the economic crisis that I remember when I was younger in the ’80s in the ’90s, millions of people said they were scrapped because of mass unemployment.

“That was a total disaster. We are in a different situation now.’

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) chats with farm manager Gordon Stokes as they look at zucchini plants during a visit to Southern England Farms Ltd in Hayle, southwest England, June 13, 2022, before the publication of the UK government's food strategy white paper.  (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks to farm manager Gordon Stokes (Photo: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is briefed while driving a tractor during a visit to Southern England Farms Ltd in Hayle, Cornwall, ahead of the publication of the UK government's Cornwall food strategy white paper.  Photo Date: Monday, June 13, 2022. Photo PA.  See article PA POLICY Food.  Photo credit must be: Justin Tallis/PA Wire

Conservative leader is instructed while driving a tractor (Photo: PA)

The food strategy commits to investing £270 million in agricultural innovation programs by 2029 to help drive sustainable farming techniques.

Last week, Batters asked Johnson to organize a meeting between Home Secretary Priti Patel and food producers to discuss issues facing the industry.

“There is nothing more important for a government than being able to feed its people and every retailer I speak to is there for consumers who want to buy more British, more local, do their part in the climate change challenge. And then we have to be able to fulfill that,’ she said.

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