NFU Cymru responds to the EAT Lancet Commission report

EAT Lancet Report_60307

Commenting on the EAT Lancet Commission report, NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “The Lancet Commission report looks at the impact of food production in global terms, providing suggestions on how the commission deems a drastic shift in society’s eating habits can shape a sustainable food system that protects the future of our planet. What this report doesn’t take account of, however, is the different systems of food production that exist across the globe and how each of these methods are tailored to optimise the production of food according to the local environment and climate.

“Here in Wales, for example, around 80% of our land is made up of marginal areas where crops cannot grow, but we do have optimal conditions for grass growth which can, in turn, be converted into high quality protein in the form of PGI Welsh Lamb and Beef, as well as a range of dairy products. In essence, our sustainable livestock grazing systems are feeding the nation in the most efficient, nutritious and environmentally friendly way they can in accordance with our climatic conditions and topography. At the same time these systems are also storing carbon to mitigate the impacts of climate change, as well as creating and managing our iconic Welsh landscapes, supporting a wide range of species and habitats, along with underpinning our rural communities.

“This report identifies the need to feed a global population a healthy diet while also shaping ‘sustainable food systems that will minimise damage to our planet’. Yet the same publication promotes a ‘planetary diet’ largely comprising of nuts and legumes to fulfil our protein requirements, produce that quite simply cannot be grown in the quantities required in this country.  It is wholly unsustainable for us, as a nation, to export the impact of our food requirements to other parts of the world where environmental standards are lower than ours and there are also transport-related emissions with this approach.

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“Welsh farmers are promoters of balanced, healthy diets, of which red meat and dairy have an important role to play. Red meat is a key source of protein and is one of the richest sources of food for iron, zinc, iodine and B vitamins. Dairy, meanwhile, is a fantastic source of calcium and vitamins that contribute to strong bones.

“A recent survey of healthcare professionals at a medical conference in Cardiff found that the overwhelming majority of those in attendance (95%) would recommend red meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

“Climate change remains one of the greatest challenges facing the global population. Welsh farmers take their environmental responsibilities extremely serious and this is an area where the sector continues to take action, providing workable solutions that can help the industry further decrease its environmental footprint.

“As Welsh farmers we recognise our clear role in providing safe, high quality, affordable nutritious food now and in the future.”

Last edited: 16:37 on 17 January 2019

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