Farmers' leaders ramped up their campaign to get home-grown food production up the political agenda at the Suffolk Show.

Suffolk's National Farmers' Union (NFU) county chairman Glenn Buckingham was joined by national deputy president David Exwood on the first day of the event as politicians vie for votes in the July 4 General Election.

The NFU is fighting to get politicians to reward farmers for growing food in the same way as they are compensating them for environmental goods through the new ELMs (Environmental Land Management) farm subsidy scheme.

They argue that not only is producing food here for the home market more environmentally sustainable it also bolsters the UK's food security in a highly unstable world.

They are calling for a balanced approach - and for farm subsidy which has been stuck at £2.4bn for many years to be significantly boosted.

"One of the key things is we are asking for is more money," said Mr Buckingham. "Why aren't we feeding our own people? We are 60% self-sufficient. I think it could be higher."

Farmers were "in the doldrums" after a difficult start to the season, he said, and while politicians promised much they needed to back their words with actions.

"There are lots of grand words spoken but not a lot of action. We wonder how much of a plan is in existence."

Farmers needed to plan ahead so gains made through environmental schemes brought forward should be retained, he added, but that should be balanced with help with food production.

Mr Exwood said farmers were feeling "pretty uncertain". Its recent survey showed confidence among farmers has slumped to an all-time low, he added.

"They have had a tough winter and they don't know what the new government will mean for them."

Meantime, the industry was operating on historic or legacy EU subsidy amounts. 

"That ends now and farmers need to know that the budget is going to be there in the future," he said.

"We have got to deliver for food and the environment."

But ELMs was primarily an environmental scheme. "We say it should be a lot more balanced.

"We don't want to cut environmental ambition. We want to increase the food ambition alongside it."

Otherwise, the UK will simply be exporting its carbon from food production to other countries, he said.

But he acknowledged progress had been made at prime minister Rishi Sunak's farm summit when an annual food index measuring home-grown produce was launched.

"We have seen a real change from five years ago where food was not a public good. Food is recognised as a public good - we now need that moved into public policy."

The UK needed to be producing far more of its own fruit and vegetables rather than importing them, he added.