By Debbie James

In times of crisis, Pembrokeshire’s farmers have unfailingly proved themselves to be innovative, adaptable and resilient. This year is no different, they have worked tirelessly to maintain all necessary supply chains to keep our shelves stocked with food.

Our farmers and food producers continue to play an integral role in keeping the nation fed.

With a further tightening of the restrictions resulting from the pandemic, signs of panic buying are creeping into our supermarket aisles yet again.

Have we not learned lessons from the shameless stockpiling seen during the March lockdown?

There have been many shortcomings highlighted by the pandemic, not least our sense of entitlement when it comes to food and drink.

Take the shopper I heard vocalising his outrage in a local supermarket in March. His trolley was packed with bottled water and the store assistant politely reminded him that all products were being limited to three per customer.

He ranted about his loyalty rights as a long-standing customer and how that somehow conferred special privileges.

Shame on him, not only for his truly blinkered belief and obvious rudeness but why on earth does anyone need to buy bottled water when it runs through our taps in abundance?

Retailers have frequently been praised for doing an excellent job of making sure customers had access to food throughout the pandemic and the crisis shone a light too on where our food originates, not from shops but from our farmers.

Yet it is getting harder for our farmers to produce quality food for what they are paid.

The pandemic has also raised questions around food security.

A robust supply chain requires high levels of domestic production but our politicians seem oblivious to that as they thrash around with policymaking ahead of Brexit.

Imports have an important role to play in our food system but it is time that the government paid more attention to our nation’s self-sufficiency.

The coronavirus pandemic has served as a reminder of its importance.

It has highlighted how important a secure food and farming system is to this country. We need to protect and strengthen it for the future.