Families should be encouraged to beat rising food prices by growing their own food and veg, a West Midlands MP has suggested.
Daniel Kawczynski (Con Shrewsbury and Atcham) said councils should receive encuragement to make more allotments available to the public.
And he revealed that he grew the vegetables that ended up on his family’s dinner table.
The MP was speaking in a House of Commons debate on the supply of food, both in the UK and abroad.
He also higlighted the plight of dairy farmers in Shropshire and across the country, warning that the number of cattle slaughtered because of bovine TB infection had soared.
Mr Kawczynski said: “Food security starts with encouraging people to grow their own vegetables. That may be a funny thing to say, but one Briton in three is thinking of starting up an allotment and growing their own vegetables.
“I have 16 raised beds at home and I grow all my own vegetables for my family, as well as having planted an orchard. I take great pride in looking after my orchard, and nothing gives me more pleasure than looking after my fruit trees and vegetables and providing my family with organic foods grown locally.
“The Government should do more to encourage councils to have more allotments. Today, I went to Greenfields, which is part of Shrewsbury, and spoke to the gentleman who runs the Greenfields allotments. There is a huge waiting list of people trying to get allotments and we should do more to encourage councils to give people the chance to grow their own food.”
He called on Ministers to protect cattle by authorising a limited culls of badgers, which are believed by some to spread bovine TB.
He said: “In 1997, 47 cattle were slaughtered in Shropshire. Last year, the figure had risen to more than 1,200.”
He added: “It reflects the state of the crisis that we have with bovine TB in Shropshire. This year, if current trends continue, more than 1,600 cattle will be slaughtered in Shropshire.”
France had eradicated bovine TB through extra testing of animals, vaccines and a limited cull of badgers, he said.
If the French can do it, why can the Government not do it? They will not do it because, in their growing unpopularity, they are desperately worried about those marginal seats where there are many members of the Wildlife Trusts.
“The Government do not want to offend members of the Wildlife Trusts. I understand that. There are 5,000 Shropshire Wildlife Trust members and it is the biggest organisation in my county.”
Local wildlife trust members had even given his babdy daughter a cuddly badger, in an effort to change his attitude to badgers, he said.
“They desperately want us to stop talking about badgers and a potential limited cull, but my priority has to be my Shropshire farmers, although I think badgers are sweet.”
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn told MPs that food prices had risen across the world, partly because people in developing countires had become richer and were buying more food.
“We in the UK are not, of course, insulated from global price rises any more than anyone else is. We have seen the oil price rise to unprecedented levels—now almost $140 dollars a barrel, whereas a decade ago the price of a barrel was a tenth of today’s price”