Touch the Soil News #458
The world’s issues are complex and it is easy for policymakers (and politicians) to overlook the importance of food and farming. While it has not been in the forefront of the news the past month, the pending exit of Great Britain from the European Union is getting closer scrutiny.
While the U.K is far away, it is not out of the question that lack of political focus on food may impact the U.S. more in the future.
For over 40 years, the British food chain has become intertwined with that of Europe. Today Britain’s food security materially rests with the European Union. Recently, the Los Angeles Times correspondent in the U.K. has unearthed some concerning issues. http://www.latimes.com/world/
Following are the highlights of their findings:
- Half the food Britons eat is imported ($50 billion worth) – mostly from the E.U. An exit may trigger higher import duties, raising the cost of food.
- The largest sector of economic engagement with the E.U. has been in the food sector to include meat and 40% of the fruits and vegetables Britons eat.
- Britain relies on the E.U. for farm subsidies and migrant labor for Britain’s farms. The E.U. provides a platform for the easy movement of Eastern European farm migrant workers to enter and exit Great Britain. The loss or disruption of this migrant labor force could damage the U.K.’s domestic food production. The loss of close to $4 billion in E.U. farm subsidies for U.K. farmers and a farm labor shortage could force people to give up higher quality foods for low-quality processed foods.
- It is E.U. regulations that regulate all the food Britons eat.
- British officials estimate the nation has enough food for three (3) days.
- More than 8 million Britons are already struggling to put food on the table.
- The decrease in the relative value of its currency makes the cost of importing food more costly.
Following is a short video clip on how food prices are already escalating in the U.K.: