Britain reevaluates food production needs
Sharp rises in commodity prices serve as a reminder of the nation’s vulnerability.
In a recent Reuters article, the minister responsible for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs — equivalent to USDA — indicated Britain, which imported 37% of food consumed during 2008, must produce more while using less water, energy and fertilizers.
Sharp rises in commodity prices last year served as a reminder of the vulnerability of the nation. Britain will have to compete with other industrialized countries in the EU for its share of global food production, which will have to satisfy the needs of a population of 9 billion by 2050, according to FAO estimates.
It is considered significant that for many years green principles and welfare have dominated the UK egg industry which has contracted in size, resulting in a reliance on imports.
Food security is becoming a political issue since the Conservative Party in opposition has accused the government of failing to promote sound agricultural policy in favor of imports.
The current UK situation brings the following issues to light: the need to recognize and support the contribution of intensive animal agriculture, to adopt new technology including GMO crop production and to balance the demands of environmental and welfare activists against the realities of consumer needs.