Wednesday 12 September 2012

Intensive, sustainable crofting

The World Bank has just announced that in June and July world wheat and maize prices increased by twenty five percent and that global food prices jumped ten percent. Drought in the USA and E. Europe ( climate change induced?), speculation in feed grains (getting rich at the expense of starving brown children) and production of ethanol from feed grains ( it's blended with petrol to reduce dependence on imported oil) have driven the price rises.

"Lazy beds" intensive crofting S. Uist 1930s

Against this background the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that to feed the world in 2030 an increase of 50% in world food supplies will be needed. Smallholder farmers; this includes Crofters, could have a key role in feeding the world by supplying local markets with high quality produce but some big changes in management of soils, crops and stock will be needed to develop intensified, sustainable crofts. Intensification and sustainability need not be mutually exclusive, there is scope to increase crofting's food output without damaging the environment. Its been done before, see pics.
Intensive production of potatoes on lazy beds- Vatersay

The Scottish Crofting Federation has joined the "Food Sovereignty" movement. Rejecting the proposition that food is just another commodity that can be subject to speculation and a component of international agri-business. The movement also supports the contributions and rights of food providers, including; crofters, peasants, pastoralists, fishermen, and small scale farmers who it claims are undervalued and their livelihoods are threatened by industrialised food production.

A "hay burner" at work, no ethanol needed

 At the risk of "turning you off" I want to devote some future posts to how this might be achieved in the  crofting counties. After all the great thing about blogs is, you don't have to read them, they are free and you are free to comment.

The photographs are from, "Crofting Agriculture" by Frank Fraser Darling. I hope they are out of copyright.

Scottish Crofting Federation

1 comment:

Jon said...

Another great blog, Tom. They get better and better - and there's nothing here to "turn me off". Look forward to more on this subject.