Friday 21 July 2017

Small farms, small food businesses and sustainable food and nutrition security (SALSA)

This week I was interviewed by Carole  Doyle a researcher from the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen.James Hutton Institute find out more Carole was interviewing Crofters as part of a large EU / UN project assessing the role of small farms  in food production and sustainability in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Here she was looking at the role crofting has in local food production and consumption of locally produced food. find out more about SALSA

Kitchen table interview
With global population estimated to become 9.7 billion by 2050 this is important. It's clear that we need a shift to a sustainable system that produces more food of higher nutritional value while maintaining ecosystem functions.

We small farmers are important. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2014 estimated that about 1% of farms were of 50 hectares or more and they occupy 67% of the farmland. The majority of farmers (72%) have less than 1 hectare and occupy only 19% of the land. they have a vital role in household and local food supply. In the EU there are 5.8 million semi-subsistence farms.

During the last 40 years in the UK agricultural economists have advised government not to concern themselves about food security. Houses, roads, and factories could be built on grade 1 land because we could import food from Europe and elsewhere.  As for farm subsidies to support food production we only have those in the UK because of the political clout of EU farmers. After we leave the EU subsidies will be toast!

61% of Romanian farms are semi-subsistence
It has often been said that we are, "only nine meals away from food riots and revolution". Politicians would do well to heed this. Small farms producing food for local consumption will have a vital role when the post- Brexit economy collapses and there are food shortages. We will be as poor as Greece but without the sunshine.

UPDATE 05/08/2017

UK could face food shortages after Brexit

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