Six N8 projects feature in new report outlining policy messages for food security

The findings from six research programmes, brought together under N8 AgriFood, have fed into a new report outlining key policy recommendations to help to identify and develop interventions to strengthen UK food security.

The ‘Resilience of the UK Food System in a Global Context’ (GFS FSR) research programme has released its Programme Report, outlining multiple approaches to enhancing resilience.

The Report contains general recommendations as well as tailored messages for a range of stakeholders in government, agri-food businesses, NGOs, and investment and research sectors.

The major £14.5 million, five year research programme, launched in 2016 by the Global Food Security programme, comprised 13 interdisciplinary research projects based in UK institutions. Six of these programmes were established from bids put together by colleagues working collaboratively across N8 AgriFood and the N8 universities; IKnowFood, PIG Sustain, Resilient Dairy, Rurban, Re- Phokus and SEEGSLIP.

Summarising five years of research, the report also contains messages based on findings by each of the 13 Projects and focused on specific stakeholders. These messages are intended to lead to further exploration and actions by those aiming to enhance food system resilience.

One of the key messages from the report was that discussions on how to enhance food system resilience need to be framed by the answers to four key questions:

o Where do we need to increase resilience?

o What do we need to build resilience against?

o From whose perspective is enhanced resilience needed?

o Over what time period is enhanced resilience needed?

The report also contained important messages for specific stakeholders including:

  • Government policy formulation should take a whole food system approach across government departments and agencies and spatial, temporal and jurisdictional levels
  • Industry should proactively address the negative relationship between food price on one hand, and food system sustainability and resilience on the other
  • NGOs covering multiple agenda should play a more substantial, evidence-based role in holding government and business to account
  • Finance and investment sectors should include short and long-term financial stress testing of their portfolios to a wide range of exposures
  • Researchers and funders will have an increasingly important role in helping to enhance the resilience of the UK food system. 

Dr Riaz Bhunnoo, Director of the Global Food Security programme, said: “The recent pandemic has underlined the importance of a resilient food system. With climate change coming down the line, it is more important than ever that we drive interdisciplinary research on food system resilience into policy and practice. The FSR programme has been instrumental in driving this agenda forward.”

The full report can be viewed at

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