Saturday, 5 February 2011

the Foresight report into future food supply

Last month a report by scientists was published which attempted to find solutions to the problem of feeding an ever growing global population. The Foresight report, Global Food and Farming Futures suggest a number of different ways.
  1. allowing more genetically modified crops
  2. avoiding food waste
  3. more spending on agricultural research
The report doesn't seem to be recommending that less food in the form of grains and soya should be fed to animals. The article in the Independent newspaper states "This urbanisation in developing nations will be coupled with an increase in wealth and a shift towards diets rich in meat and dairy produce, which require more farmland to produce compared to more vegetarian diets." Yet there isn't any suggestion that this shift should be countered.

In fact 'grain, roots, tubers and pulses' are termed 'poor-quality food', which is nonsense. Grains and pulses, together with vegetables and fruit, should form the basis of a healthy diet. Animal protein isn't necessary at all.

To say that genetic modification is going to be the solution to the problem of world hunger is like saying that nuclear fusion is going to be the solution to energy demand and carbon dioxide production. I hope power stations that use nuclear fusion can be built in the future, and I support governments spending billions of dollars on research into it, but the fact is that it might never happen. There are no genetically modified crops that are higher yielding than conventional crops yet. Just as we need wind turbines and other renewable energy sources now, so too we need non-GM solutions to food production now.

Not allowing big animal farms such as the proposed mega-dairy at Nocton would be a start. Getting rid of all of them is a goal for the future. We could put VAT on all meat where the animals have been fed on grain and soya. This would mean that grain prices would not continue to increase as much as they have done, giving the poorer people of the world the chance to feed their families.