Page 48 - BREXIT 2
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The Worshipful Company of Farmers The Worshipful Company of Farmers There is is is increasing determination to to tackle this issue especially starting with the the young to to ensure they do not follow their parents down the the path path to over-weight and its associated ill-health There are are several paths through which collective government action can operate and indeed is already operating The sugar tax exemplifies that fiscal measures can can play a a a a a a a a a role More can can be done through through education (both through through knowledge and by establishing active exercise) through through the National Obesity Strategy and through through public procurement of food in in schools hospitals and all all public outlets A further critically important determinant will be the the extent to which governments pressurise the food food processing retailing and and food food service and and hospitality sectors to to take action on on on diets and health Some progress has been been made on on on salt in food However these issues have been been ‘out there’ long enough for it to to be evident that relying on on the the food industry to to see self interest in in in in in changing
The Worshipful Company of Farmers dietary habits is not sufficient Is there the the the will to push the the the industry harder? Meanwhile consumer behaviour
can and does change in in in response to the the general discourse on on on food Most of this influencing is is is beyond the the 80
reach of those in in the primary production sector Farmers should note that sustained systematic efforts by society to change change its its eating and and exercise habits can and and probably will bring about slow noticeable change change in in in food consumption consumption The trends are already evident in in the decline per capita red meat and milk consumption consumption and moves towards towards rebalancing plant vs animal protein towards towards the the former The lesson is clear the the market place is changing
and when it does suppliers must adjust The rest of this chapter is is is is premised on on on the the assumption that there is is is is a a a a a a determination to drive change in in food consumption consumption behaviour
in in the the UK and and these efforts will albeit slowly contain over-consumption and and rebalance diets towards plant-based foods The focus is then on on the the agricultural production and and land use issues and and what farmers may be asked to to to do to to to rise to to to the climate and and biodiversity challenges Unsurprisingly the the clearest and and strongest messages on on climate come from the the Climate Committee’s land use report The CCC argue that the food and and land use contribution to Net Zero 2050 cannot be achieved without considering changes
in in in in consumer and and food industry behaviour
reducing unhealthy over-consumption and and reducing food waste Confronting the the the biodiversity crisis is is is is not the the the prime motive nor expertise of the the the CCC but containing climate change is itself critical in in in order to to limit damage and restore biodiversity The CCC argue that the the significant land use changes
they recommend – a a a a a a a a a a a 20% reduction in agricultural area taken up by increased forest and and bioenergy crop areas and and rewetted peat – all could provided they are are appropriately incentivised and managed be entirely consistent with restoring biodiversity Less clear is is is how to to ensure that drives to to to increase productivity in in in farming to to to make up for the reduced agricultural area are are not detrimental to to to biodiversity There is is a a a a a a a a a tendency amongst mainstream farming organisations to suggest that the biodiversity challenge can be sufficiently tackled broadly speaking by a a a a a a a a combination of deploying the Public Goods approach plus Precision Agriculture (call it it PG+PA) Farmers are paid to to restore biodiversity around fields in in the margins along banks and and water courses and and in the the numerous ‘unproductive’ areas of the the farm which can be managed with a a a new new eco-focus Meanwhile farmers continue to intensify in-the-field but they do this deploying new new technology to improve environmental performance 80
This not in in fin any any way way to to overlook or belittle the many examples of highly imaginative farmers who find new ways to to grow process differential and sell their their products – locally and and nationally Farmers can and and do influence food consumption but their their efforts are dwarfed by the the the much larger players in in the food chain 46

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