For a nation to be secure the importance of being able to feed itself is as important as its ability to defend itself – this being a self evident truth that must constitute the very keystone of nationalist agricultural policy.
It is an undeniable fact that the quality of British home produced food is amongst the best in the world. It is also true that increasing the proportion of fresh home grown food in the national diet inevitably makes for a healthier nation, not to mention a healthier balance of payments situation.
Furthermore, as home market demand has long far exceeded home production, there should be no reason why any competent farmer, afforded an even commercial playing field through the policies of a Nationalist government, should not experience a rewarding future in the industry.
A worrying development in recent times has been the gradual reduction in the amount of foodstuffs our farmers produce as measured as a percentage of the annual national requirement.
The growing deficit being filled through a corresponding growth in imported produce, rather than through an increase in home production as common sense would suggest.
This decline in market share has not arisen due to any complacency on the part of our farming producers but because they have been consistently and comprehensively undermined by the importation of cheaper, often state subsidised, foreign produce.
Indeed, as an example, we have the absurd situation where the livelihoods of British dairy farmers are being placed in jeopardy through the importation of huge quantities of milk and other dairy products.
Much of which, ironically, supplied by producers in Eastern Europe subsidised by EU grants derived in part from the taxes of British dairy farmers!
Another notorious ongoing example is the importation into the home market of relatively cheap meat from South American countries – countries which have neither significant animal welfare overheads arising from related legislation, or labour costs in any way comparable to ours.
This unfair “fair trade” is not only an act of folly that jeopardises the livelihoods of our beef producers but also risks the health of the national herd through the ever present threat of imported foot and mouth.
This being increasingly relevant as global demand for beef grows and with it the value and importance to the farming economy of Britain’s currently expanding beef rearing industry.
Presently, our farming industry produces around 75% of our national needs in terms of basic commodities. This represents a decrease of around 10% over the last ten years alone. Quite apart from the growing burden this imposes on our balance of payments is the only too obvious threat to the nation’s food security.
It is so easily forgotten that twice in the last century this country stood in peril of being brought to its knees through starvation resulting from enemy blockade.
If history teaches us anything then it is that today’s trading partners and allies can be tomorrow’s enemy.
Neither should it be forgotten that in those traumatic times we were at least fortunate in possessing the world’s largest merchant fleet and navy, meaning we had the physical means to import and safeguard our foodstuffs, something we no longer have and yet another reason underlining the strategic importance of food security to the nation.
In these complacent times government demonstrates scant regard for emergency situations, including times of substantial enforced food shortages, and has little contingency for such as a consequence.
This amounts to an unacceptable threat in terms of national food security, one that a responsible nationalist government would be duty bound to address through the provision of extensive storage facilities for both human and animal basic foodstuffs.
But there are other reasons why a substantial increase in the size of the farming industry is essential.
Growth in the farming sector will inevitably increase rural employment, not just that part directly employed in agriculture but in secondary activity such as transportation, animal feed milling, fertiliser production, equipment manufacturing and food processing.
Furthermore a nationalist government will reverse the policy trend of recent years that has allowed the sea to reclaim former farmland and will take all measures necessary to increase the sum acreage of land under production.
Although it is inevitable that the growth in production required will most likely be achieved through an extension of intensive farming methods, there is no reason why organic foodstuffs production should not be encouraged, particularly by the smallholder; where the latter, unable to compete on quantity, should be able to do so on quality and in niche markets produce.
Nationalists, however, should continue to oppose the introduction of genetically modified (GM) technology until such times as the long-term impact of such materials on both the environment and on human and animal health has been demonstrated to be safe beyond all doubt.
Furthermore, notice needs to be served on the international biotech corporations and their hired help at Westminster to the effect that the British countryside is no more a test laboratory than the British people are lab rats – it’s public health, not corporate wealth, that matters.
British Nationalists should regard the present situation; where around a quarter of our basic foodstuffs have to be imported each year, as unacceptable.
As a nationalist party we consider it essential that government should provide the political and financial support that the farming industry needs in order to achieve the expansion in output required.
Additionally we believe it unrealistic to expect the industry to expand to the extent needed without substantial assistance from national government. The reinstatement of the nation’s food security through higher production, particularly in staple commodities, has to be a partnership between producers and government.
Consequently, the attainment of this critical goal must constitute the key objective in any nationalist party’s agricultural policy – national food security is a strategic necessity, not an optional extra.