The National Farming Union (NFU) announced their support to eradicate greenhouse emissions, which cause erratic weather patterns leading to climate change. The advocacy stemmed from reports that climate change affected crops in 2018.
At the Energy and Rural Business Show, NFU’s Deputy President Guy Smith said that the farmers’ most significant challenge is climate change. He added that they also see changes in the environment.
Last year, potatoes, carrots, and onion harvests went down. Reports recorded that these crops declined by an average of 20 to 40 percent. Meanwhile, vineyards noted that late spring frosts damaged the majority of their produce.
The weather also affected wheat production. In 2018, the overall wheat yield only reached 8.5 tons per hectare. It was a 7 percent drop from that of 2017.
Aside from the harvest count, climate change also affected crop quality, especially of potatoes. Cedric Porter of the World Potato Markets said that farmers yielded smaller potatoes because of the drought.
The adverse effects of global warming urged the NFU to call in the government to invest on technology that would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The union strives to achieve net zero by 2040.
Smith encouraged the administration, saying that farmers would need the tools to increase production and reduce carbon footprint. He also noted that through technology, businesses could attain resiliency.
In response to the union’s heed, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove commented that the government would help farmers reach zero greenhouse gas emissions. He added that they would also reward producers who would reduce their emissions through the Environmental Land Management Scheme.
Gove also stated that the movement is vital because high-quality produce is important in the citizens’ diets. In relation, he noted that if climate change continues to exist, it could adversely affect the farmers’ livelihood and people’s health.
Meanwhile, David Drew, the department’s Shadow Minister, emphasized that the government should also support sustainable farming. This system would include enhancing soil quality and encouraging pollinators.
Representatives from the food sector also expressed their approval with NFU’s stand. They said that supporting green energy and reducing waste is a huge leap which would also benefit future generations.