BY JIM WEBSTER
Apparently it was Machiavelli who said (almost certainly in Italian):
Churchill followed him by saying:
Obviously their wise advice is being followed.
So, the government has unveiled a new food strategy ‘and told farmers to produce more fruit and vegetables in the wake of record inflation.’ Not only that, but government is calling for changes to make it easier to turn land into farms, make poultry workers eligible for seasonal migrant jobs and propose that schools, prisons and hospitals offer vegan options.
Some people haven’t got a clue.
If UK farmers could make money out of producing fruit and vegetables, they’d already be producing fruit and vegetables. But now, in the wake of record inflation, they’re not only expected to produce them, but produce them cheaply to keep prices down?
Answers on a postcard please, why is this not going to happen?
Given that only weeks ago the policy was to turn farmland into forestry, perhaps the ‘oil tanker’ of government policy, which has regarded farming as expendable since the 1980s, is at last turning round?
Take the way the whole ‘vegan experience’ has leapt onto the bandwagon.
I went on the BBC website for some vegan recipes for people in schools, prisons and hospitals. Falafel burgers; – basic ingredients chickpeas, not grown in this country but most come from India, Australia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Strikes me as some of these countries would be better off eating their own produce rather than producing cash crops to export to the wealthy West.
Vegan chili; – containing sweet potatoes, (somebody did manage to produce a crop commercially in the UK, but effectively they’re all imported from the US, Egypt, Vietnam and Spain), a can of black beans (there are trials going on to see if there are varieties that can be grown in the UK but they’re largely exported by India, Myanmar, Brazil and the USA) and a can of red kidney beans. (Again the main exporters are Thailand, Brazil, South Africa, Ukraine, and Papua New Guinea. These beans probably like a warmer climate than we can manage.)
Finally (because I’m just doing the first three recipes on the website): Spiced aubergine bake. Of course the aubergines are largely imported as commercial production in the UK is under plastic and may involve some heat, (so don’t look for an expansion of UK production any time soon) whilst I suspect that you will search for a long time to find the UK coconut plantations to provide you with the coconut milk.
So we have a war, a food and an energy crisis, and a vocal minority have convinced government this can be tackled by importing expensive food from abroad?
People are trapped between high energy prices, high food prices and high housing costs.
It is high time farmers and food security were given some sensible thought.
Jim Webster farms at the bottom end of South Cumbria. Jim was encouraged to collect together into a book some blog posts he’d written because of their insight into Cumbrian farming and rural life (rain, sheep, quad-bikes and dogs) It’s available here.