Tuesday, 11 January 2011


A growing number of people (me included) are worried about secure energy supplies, but not new Labour or the Con Dems who are quite happy to leave energy planning and energy supply to the whims of the 'free market'. We should also spare a thought for 'food security'.

Food security is nothing new, back in 1996, the World Food Summit defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. The World Health Organisation (WHO) acknowledge that the concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people's dietary needs as well as their food preferences.

All very fine and day you may say, but, what does that have to do with us? Well, quite a lot actually, the especially as the UK produces 73% of 'indigenous-type foods’ (home grown to you and me), and is about 60% self-sufficient when exports and local consumption are set against production. It's also worth noting that UK consumers spend an average of £420 per household on food each year that they then throw away, or 4.1M tonnes of food nationally.

Every day we bin 4.4M apples, 5.1M potatoes, 2.8M tomatoes and 1.6M bananas. 2009 Wrap data suggests £12Bn worth is binned every year in the UK, or around £680 for the average family when drinks and liquid food is included. In Wales at least, as noted by Leanne Wood Plaid AM, South Wales Central, serious efforts are being made to cut waste (if we had the proper powers then we could make an even better job of it).

The rise in global food prices will have an impact on the cost of living and the prices we pay for our food. The cost of Global food prices quietly rose to a new high in December last year, according to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Its Food Price Index went above the previous record of 2008 that saw prices spark riots in several countries.

Soaring sugar, cereal and oil prices had driven the rise, the report said. The index (produced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) measures monthly price changes for a food basket composed of dairy, meat and sugar, cereals and oilseeds, averaged 214.7 points last month, up from 206 points in November and also noted that prices had risen for six consecutive months.

At the end of the day, rising food prices will bring little or scant benefit to our own or more distant food producers because often they are being short changed by the Supermarkets (and some of their suppliers). They need a fair deal and so do we, that's something to ponder on when confronted by the increased cost of our basic foodstuffs.

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