UK Farmers Send Reassuring Message During Lockdown
East Anglia’s farmers are pushing on with the essential job of producing UK’s food during the coronavirus lockdown – and they have reassured shoppers there will be “plenty to go round” throughout the crisis.
While many businesses have been forced to close and people instructed to stay indoors, the region’s agricultural industry is working to ensure crops and livestock are cared for. And although some supermarket shelves were stripped bare as concerns over the pandemic deepened, the farmers supplying those large retailers said there was no shortage of food in their fields, or in storage.
The former Norfolk National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Chairman, Tony Bambridge, said: “There is going to be plenty to go round. You don’t need to ‘panic buy’. The things that are at risk of being in short supply will be the things we import, but your bread and your beef and potatoes and vegetables – all these things are going to be there.”
While the closure of major food services businesses such as McDonald’s had added to the short-term spike in retail demand, specialists are confident the “incredibly flexible and nimble” supply chains could quickly divert food to shops where consumers can buy it.
“There has just been a shock period of immense demand, which is similar to Christmas, or even more – exacerbated by the cafes and restaurants being closed down, putting added pressure on retailers. But all that food going into the food service chain is being redirected into retailers,” said Andrew Blenkiron, vice chairman of NFU Suffolk.
In a video message on Twitter, NFU president Minette Batters added: “I want to give a massive shout out to each and every one of you from farmers right across the United Kingdom. We are working 24/7 and we are absolutely determined to keep producing the high-quality affordable, high-welfare food that you enjoy. I just want you to know, on behalf of all farmers – we have got your back.”