Food Security - Brexit - Out of the EU and into the Brave New World
According to Countryfile magazine March 22nd, 2019 *
No-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for UK farming, warns NFU, it will increase food prices and damage the industry, according to NFU President Minette Batters. She explained that a no-deal Brexit ‘would be disastrous, not only for our farmers but for the public too, who rely on our ability to provide them with a sustainable, safe and affordable supply of high quality, British food.’
Goods from the EU are currently tariff-free, but in the case of a no-deal Brexit, World Trade Organization taxes remain the default position. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) had previously warned that the introduction of MFN WTO tariffs would mean the price of cheddar cheese could increase by up to 32%, beef by 29% and tomatoes by 9-18%.
Now let’s look globally FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION AROUND THE WORLD IN 2020
Five years into the 2030 Agenda, it is time to assess progress and to question whether continuing efforts implemented thus far will allow countries to reach SDG 2 targets.
They warn that people must be cautious with their projections.
They estimate that almost 690 million people in the world (8.9% of the world population) were undernourished in 2019. The number of people affected by hunger in the world continues to increase slowly. This trend started in 2014 and extends to 2019.
Why is this happening? Well they say that recent increase in food insecurity can be attributed to the greater number of conflicts, often exacerbated by climate-related shocks. Even in some peaceful settings, food security has deteriorated as a result of economic slowdowns threatening access to food for the poor.
The evidence also reveals that the world is not on track to achieve the SDG 2.1 Zero Hunger target by 2030. As a result, the global number of undernourished people in 2030 would exceed 840 million.
At the time of this writing, the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading across the globe, clearly posing a serious threat to food security. Preliminary assessments based on the latest available global economic outlooks suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic may add between 83 and 132 million people to the total number of undernourished in the world in 2020 depending on the economic growth scenario.
Globally, as of 2019, it is estimated that 44% of infants aged less than six months were exclusively breastfed. Currently, the world is on track to achieve the 2025 target of at least 50% of babies younger than six months being exclusively breastfed. If additional efforts are not made, however, the global target for 2030 of at least 70 percent will not be achieved before 2038.
Adult obesity continues to rise, from 11.8% in 2012 to 13.1% in 2016 and is not on track to reach the global target to halt the rise in adult obesity by 2025.
An analysis of dietary patterns according to levels of food insecurity found that diet quality worsens with increasing severity of food insecurity.
In summary, with ten years to go until 2030, the world is off track to achieve the SDG targets for hunger and malnutrition. Projections for 2030, even without considering the potential impact of COVID-19, serve as a warning that the current level of effort is not enough to reach Zero Hunger ten years from now.
What people eat, and how that food is produced, not only affects their health, but also has major ramifications for the state of the environment and for climate change. The food system underpinning the world’s current dietary patterns is responsible for around 21–37% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which reveals it to be a major driver of climate change.**
------Let’s take return to the UK now. From The Times newspaper 19th October, 2020
Minette Batters started her day at 5.30am with 25 press-ups and a run round her farm with her dog to check the sheep, cattle and horses before waking her teenage twins, then jumping in the car with a black coffee to wind her way through the Wiltshire countryside to catch the train to London. There she changed into heels to meet the prime minister.
Ushered into No 10, worried that she might still have mud on her face and straw in her hair, the National Farmers’ Union president found herself sitting opposite an even more dishevelled Boris Johnson. “I was keen to prove I don’t have a set of horns and I am not a raving lunatic,” she explained (and then she looked again at Doris).***
Only a week ago, following on from media reports around a ‘No deal’ Brexit and its potential impact on Welsh farming, NFU Cymru stressed the importance of the UK Government securing a favourable trade deal with the EU.
President John Davies said NFU Cymru has been consistent in its messaging that a ‘No deal’ Brexit outcome, which would see the UK trading with the EU on WTO terms, would be a catastrophic position for Welsh farming.
“The reason for our strong position is that the EU market has been – and remains – the nearest, largest and most lucrative export market for many Welsh products and it is a marketplace where our customers recognise and value the Welsh brand and the high standards it represents”.
“Only a year ago the industry was told that the odds of a no deal Brexit were ‘a million to one against’ and there was an ‘oven ready deal’, yet here we are only weeks before the end of the transition period, facing the prospect of no deal & high tariffs on our exports.”
Mr Davies insisted comments made by secretary of state George Eustice on the Andrew Marr Show over the weekend served to further underline why it is important to Welsh agriculture that the UK Government is able to agree a deal that secures access to the EU without tariff barriers and with minimal friction.
“The secretary of state’s view that Welsh sheep farmers could diversify into beef production to offset the impact of a ‘non-negotiated outcome’ will be of major concern to our sheep farmers, who are some of the most efficient and innovative in the world producing a quality product,” he added.
“The reality is that changing production methods involves long-term production cycles and for many the significant investment required makes it an unviable option.****
The devil is always in the detail as they say so I’ll finish off by saying that yes, we have been signing trade deals with other countries however for example, the UK- Japan trade agreement replaces the existing EU- Japan one and little changes allegedly apart from the devilish detail as follows:
Truss said the agreement was “an important step” towards the UK eventually joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would secure the country access to markets in 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
So from 1 January 2021, the UK will apply a UK-specific tariff to imported goods and it’s out of the EU and into the Brave New World….Order!