earth6.wmf (4186 bytes) The world faces food shortages and demand is set to continue. The total consumption of food by the world population in the next 50 years is projected to be more than the total food consumed by humanity since time began 5*. If this scenario holds true, food shortages are inevitable. Modern farming in Britain provides food locally and efficiently. Environmental costs such as growing and transporting food can be monitored and controlled through legislation as well as by the subsidy system.
intprg.JPG (20888 bytes) A reduction in intensity of British farming may have local benefits and improve biodiversity. However, the total environmental costs may be far higher. More food will have to be imported. This translates into environmental impact. A tonne of imported produce such as beans is said to require about one tonne in aviation fuel 6*. This is in addition to the fuel costs of transport, to and from, the departure and destination airports. The effect of importing large amounts of food may also be far more damaging to vulnerable and pristine areas elsewhere. This is because of the method of production and/or because natural habitats are converted to agricultural production.
derrimn2.jpg (98408 bytes) Food produced locally can be monitored for factors such as safety of production, welfare standards and the overall impact on the environment. It is difficult to guarantee that food produced elsewhere will always meet these standards. The production of food for export to Britain may even be from countries whose population is short of food.

Ultimately, how and where food is produced is dictated by government policy and by the demand and the price paid by the UK consumer.

* References & more information *