Monday, July 31, 2017

A new and lasting food governance

Tim Lang, Erik Millstone and Terry Marsden call for a new and lasting food governance in a paper on 'Food Brexit: a time to get real': Food Brexit report

They argue, 'Brexit could, all too easily, diminish food security in the UK, where parts of our food system are already far too insecure; this rich country is pocketed with real food poverty, for example, and diet-related disease is part crippling the NHS. We understand food security to be the achievement of a system that provides food that is sufficient, sustainable, safe and equitable.

Brexit could, however, undermine all four of those aspects, in what is an already insufficiently secure food system. Moreover, the UK food system should not only aim for domestic security, it should also not undermine food security in any of the countries from which we buy, or to which we sell, foodstuffs.

This briefing suggests changes that the UK food system should be undertaking if its long-term structural needs are to be addressed. Our case is that the UK food system is highly vulnerable to the rising costs of diet-related ill-health, ecosystems damage, economic dependency, and social reliance on migrant and relatively low-waged labour.'

As far as the CAP is concerned, they state, 'So far, the national UK discussions about the various options for, and effects of, Brexit on food and agriculture policy have been discussed as if they were separate and independent variables, rather than interconnected.'

They note, 'The Brexit process is happening at a particularly vulnerable time for the UK food system - a time when it has become excessively dependent upon imports, while some of its population face worrying levels of ‘food poverty’, i.e. poverty which affects food consumption, 119 and while its productive base is declining, in terms of the number of farms and of small independent businesses, upon which it has historically relied.'

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