NFFN's UK Manifesto Launch: High stakes for food and farming in an election year

United Kingdom
Policy & Views

Today, we unveil our 2024 manifesto for the next UK Government to secure a food system that delivers for all.

Although not often at the forefront of the public’s mind, farming has a valuable role to play in delivering on several areas, such as economic growth, improved public health and environmental recovery, each of which consistently ranks high in voters' views of the most critical issues facing the country. A joined-up, long-term vision for food and farming could deliver on these objectives and much more, with thriving farm businesses making significant contributions towards a more resilient and prosperous nation. 

In what will likely be an election year, farmers continue to face immense challenges on several fronts. Climate change and the onslaught of more extreme and unpredictable weather have wrought havoc on food production - 2023 witnessed the driest February in 30 years, the sixth wettest March on record, the hottest June ever recorded and the wettest October this century. The costs of inputs remain stubbornly high, while returns from the market are frustratingly low. 

As parties of all stripes prepare for the polls, a long-term plan for farming and the countryside has yet to materialise. Agriculture is often overlooked in favour of other priorities despite the wealth of opportunities it provides. For many farmers, this has contributed to an increased sense of apathy, frustration and political homelessness. Developing a viable pathway that enables farm businesses to produce healthy food in ways that meet our climate and nature goals isn’t easy, but it's essential.  Without it, prospective governments risk breaking any promises they make to the electorate on critical issues such as a resilient NHS, meeting net zero, or securing nature’s recovery. 

The next UK parliament will preside over a critical time for farming. The stakes at this general election are very high and we need politicians to step up and start delivering for food, farming and nature.

Martin Lines, CEO of the Nature Friendly Farming Network

Our key asks

We believe there are several steps that a future government can take to support resilient farm businesses which operate within resilient, functional landscapes. With a clear vision and plan, we can build a food and farming system that feeds people well while benefitting the planet.

Our roadmap requires the delivery of the following key actions:

  • A fit-for-purpose agriculture budget to mainstream nature-friendly farming 

  • A fair and transparent supply chain to strike a better farming deal 

  • The introduction of core trade standards 

  • Action to support healthier dietary choices 

  • The delivery of ambitious farm-level payment schemes 

  • A new farming baseline to protect the environment, health and animal welfare

  • Targeted investment in people and place 

Advice for the next UK government

Our roadmap can help inform each political party of the steps they can take to address many of our biggest societal challenges while delivering a better farming future.  With an election edging closer by the day, we hope it helps emphasise the opportunities if we get things right. 

Over half of UK adults agree that action to help farming address climate change is required by the next Government.

Savanta, 2023 (on behalf of the Nature Friendly Farming Network and Sustain)

Read our 2024 Manifesto

Making a better future for farming possible.

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