Government says country should not attempt to be self-sufficient in food

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Britain must not bury its head in the sand over food supplies, warns the environment, food and rural affairs committee

Britain should grow more crops to avoid global food crisis, MPs of the environment, food and rural affairs (Efra) committee, have said.

However, in the same breath they stress, that Britain should not try to become food self-sufficient because that could make the country even more vulnerable to supply shortages. A single disease could devastate staple foods and it might be seen as to exemplify an "every country for itself" approach, said the MPs.

Any attempt for the country to attempt to be self-sufficient in food would be detrimental for us all, they say but somewhere along the line this does not compute in my eyes. I mean I may be stupid but self-sufficiency should, in my view, be the goal, before we ever think of exporting food.

While I see the reasoning as to disease, and the Irish potato famine, caused to some degree by (late) blight is a good example, it is also a lot of hogwash as the country does not rely, unlike the Irish poor did, on one source of food.

As to importing: well, that is a different story. Sure we will, as long as we are able, I am sure, import the fruit and vegetables from abroad. We should, however, leave foreign meat where it is, especially the likes of American beef that is mostly raised in the horrible feedlots and also the like of the Brazilian beef that is raised in the destroyed Amazonian Rainforest.

On the other hand the same MPs said that the UK could do far more to improve homegrown food production: "Only 10% of the fruit consumed in the UK by value is grown here. Apple orchards have reduced by nearly 33% in just 10 years and less than a third of the apples eaten here are grown here".

What they do not seem to say though is that most of our apple orchards have been grubbed out over the last couple of years, especially the great English eating apple varieties, because of too much cheap imports from abroad.

When it comes to the notion of more homegrown food one can but agree with those people in this committee and that is the same reasoning that I have been employing for years now. However, my reasoning is, primarily, that the country should look after itself before we think of exporting.

That, however, is not what those people want, for at the same time those members of parliament in this working group called for more research money, particularly into GM and other hi-tech food production.

A minister denied that they want to start intervening in telling farmers to grow what where and how, the truth, however, is a different one, methinks.

The same minister also said that people should primarily eat vegetables and salads and should rethink their protein intake from meat. Oops, here we go!

I think we can all see where those people are coming from. Their interest is the GMO farming industry and one can but wonder how much money this “think tank” is getting from the likes of Monsanto, et al. I call into question the independence of those – and many other – think tanks and quangos. Many of them seem to be in some big organization's pocket.

The real fact that this country, and it does not just apply to Britain, must become self-sufficient, as self-sufficient as possible, in terms of food and everything else possible. This is what helped us to win the war against the Hitler Fascists in World War Two.

We do not need GMOs that are untested as far to human consumption and neither do we need those to feed livestock as, once again, we do not as yet know what this may do to us, as humans. GMOs also may contaminate other crops and hence we should reject that method of playing G-d.

I rest my case and leave the reader to come to his or her own judgment here.

© 2009