Let’s Not Be Sri Lanka

BY JIM WEBSTER Sri Lanka has been the victim of a government organised experiment. In April 2021, the government imposed a nationwide ban on the importation and use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides and ordered the country’s two million farmers to go organic. It may well be that this wasn’t so much ideological as a desperate attempt to keep money in the country. It backfired. … Continue reading Let’s Not Be Sri Lanka

Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

BY JIM WEBSTER Apparently it was Machiavelli who said (almost certainly in Italian): “Never waste the opportunity offered by a good crisis.” Churchill followed him by saying: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” 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 … Continue reading Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

Too Little Wheat, Too Much Makeup

BY JIM WEBSTER During first lockdown, behind the scenes, major retailers performed logistical miracles. As a farmer I’m not somebody who is prone to praise them, but in spite of ridiculous levels of panic buying (there are people out there who won’t need to buy toilet paper for another couple of years) the retailers managed to keep the show on the road. During lockdown I … Continue reading Too Little Wheat, Too Much Makeup

Ukraine Effects: A Farmer’s Thoughts

BY JIM WEBSTER On the agricultural front, so far nothing has really been said in the West, although I’ve noticed a couple of the papers starting to run stories about possible food shortages. Apparently the Chinese government, which seems to think about these things rather more than our governments do, has stockpiled 70% of world maize stocks, 51% of world wheat stocks and “enormous quantities … Continue reading Ukraine Effects: A Farmer’s Thoughts

Environment Comes Second to Food Security

BY JIM WEBSTER Russia and the Ukraine have been vying for the position of the world’s largest grain exporters for some time. This is the Moscow times from 2019: “Russia has been the global grain exporter top dog for the last three years, but as the agricultural marketing year ended on June 30, it looks like Ukraine has snatched the title back from its rival.” … Continue reading Environment Comes Second to Food Security

Spending the Money Thrice

BY JIM WEBSTER The whole system of farm payments is up in the air. To be brutally frank, this isn’t surprising. On a general, first world level, governments have blown so much money on the pandemic they are scrabbling behind the sofa for loose change. I would be surprised if, in five years’ time, any country hasn’t cut its agricultural support, or moved the money … Continue reading Spending the Money Thrice

The Law of Unintended Consequences

BY JIM WEBSTER I don’t often apologise to the government of the People’s Republic of China but I confess I have been somewhat sceptical about their sincerity when it comes to cutting carbon emissions. But apparently they are trying. The government laid down strict limits on the amount of energy that could be used in various provinces. But when lockdown ended, there were a lot … Continue reading The Law of Unintended Consequences

Keep on Trucking?

BY JIM WEBSTER Why would anybody be a lorry driver? The pay dropped because companies employed cheap labour from abroad. To an extent that is still happening with delivery drivers. We’ve had a charming Bulgarian man come into our yard looking for somebody else (we’re just the postcode). His only sentence in English was ‘I am from Bulgaria and don’t speak English’. To show us … Continue reading Keep on Trucking?