Wednesday, October 8, 2008

In summary...

The challenges of the food crisis

"The Chatham House study concludes that the British government does not yet fully understand the challenges it faces over food in the 10 years. It identifies serious challenges to world agriculture:

• UK consumers use food at a rate that represents six times more land and sea than is available to them.

• Developed countries face a chronic shortage of migrant workers, leading to the loss of seasonal crops. In Scotland up to a fifth of the soft fruit crop, worth £5.2m, could be lost in 2008.

• The equivalent of 20 Nile rivers move annually from developing to developed countries, but much of agriculture's use of water is unsustainable.

• Modern food production is energy-intensive and vulnerable to oil and gas price rises.

• Rising prices of agricultural commodities have already produced pressure for more protectionism. Russia plans to form a state grain trading company to control up to half of its cereal exports.

• Falling yields due to climate change will inflate food prices further.

• The rapid rise in world population will continue to push up demand.

• Emerging economies such as China and India are shifting to more meat and dairy products. This will cause greater pressure on food and feed prices, and exacerbate environmental and health problems."

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