Union President Issues Food Security Warning07 January 2013
WALES, UK - Food production is not keeping pace with demand and the implications of this are terrifying, Farmers' Union of Wales president Emyr Jones warns in his New Year Message.
Mr Jones recalled that, during a recent visit to the European Parliament, he was presented with a copy of "The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity" by the book's editor Professor Paolo De Castro.
Prof De Castro is an agricultural economist, a former Italian Minister of Agriculture, and, as chairman of the committee tasked with scrutinising, negotiating and distilling proposed changes to the Common Agricultural Policy, is currently the most important person in the EU in relation to agriculture.
Mr Jones said: "De Castro's book makes for uncomfortable reading. Its introduction summarises the situation by stating that the current emergency '...in our latitudes, where expenditure [on food] counts for less than 15 per cent of overall household expenditure, risks being viewed as remote, while it is actually dramatically close."
"While countries such as China are involved in 'land grabbing' in Africa and elsewhere as part of the struggle to secure food supplies, our own UK Government and the opposition argue in favour of effectively abandoning our key control over food production - the Common Agricultural Policy - which was designed to address just such an emergency.
Mr Jones added that food production is not keeping pace with demand and that the implications of this over the coming years are terrifying. Emyr is aware that inustry experts are familiar with this notion but Westminter might be shocked to hear it.
"Politicians are renowned for not being able to see further than the next election but it also seems than many are unable to learn from the lessons of living-memory. Our dependence upon food imports in the 1930s almost led to starvation and the loss of the War in the 1940s, and rationing continued well into the 1950s.
"While the prospect of another war on our doorsteps seems far away, population growth and food productivity, coupled with rising energy costs, climate change and a host of other challenges, mean that what we now face is unprecedented," warned Mr Jones.
Concluding by saying action is critical the President eluded to European policy and sovereignty issues as potential obstacles and wished change for 2013.