In the Food 2030 document setting out future food strategy, the government have said they want to happen:
Consumers are informed, can choose, and afford, healthy, sustainable food. This demand is met by profitable, competitive, highly skilled and resilient farming, fishing and food businesses, supported by first class research and development.
Food is produced, processed and distributed to feed a growing global population in ways which:
- use global natural resources sustainably,
- enable the continuing provision of the benefits and services that a healthy natural environment provides,
- promote high standards of animal health and welfare,
- protect food safety,
- make a significant contribution to rural communities, and
- allow us to show global leadership on food sustainability.
Our food security is ensured through strong British agriculture and international trade links with EU and global partners, which support developing economies. We have a low carbon food system which is efficient with resources – any waste is reused, recycled or used for energy generation.
This sounds good – but now the hard part. Will they make it happen?
For the first time in 60 years a UK government has produced a document setting out its strategy for the future of food production. Hilary Benn, DEFRA Secretary unveiled this at the start of the Oxford Farming Conference.
Mr Benn should be given credit for this because up until 2007 he appeared to have no concerns about food security and followed the usual government line that we would always be able to import any amount of food.
He now seems to want a strong but sustainable UK farming industry and we hope that his turnaround is partly due to him reading our book Famine in the West which he described in September 2007 as very interesting and which he passed to DEFRA policy officials for them to read.
Mr Benn said society had begun to take food supply for granted in the last few decades. “But the truth is now apparent. We cannot take it for granted anymore… We know we are at one of those moments in history where the future of our economy, our environment, and our society will be shaped by the choices we make now.”
Many people think that the 84 page document shows well what the government would like to see happen but says little about how to get there.
My opinion is that it is a very good start but they need to make specific plans to deal with major future problems such as sudden severe energy shortages brought on by geo-political events such as future conflict in the Middle East.