Sunday, 12 August 2012

Does Laura Sandys realise what she's saying about food policy?


Let us take her comments:

The Prime Minister is right to use the Olympics to focus on global hunger. But while the main focus of this summit must be to address the problem in poor countries, it’s important to remember that food poverty exists in every country – rich and poor – in the UK as well as Somalia. Food banks are emerging in our cities, and charities like Fair Share are becoming part of daily life in our most deprived communities. In 2010, public health officials calculated that malnutrition costs the NHS £13bn.

Now I'm not going to comment on the public health guffle in this quotation except to say that the last sentence is probably complete and utter tripe. Nonsense that will be repeated again and again until - like the lies about obesity and the misinformation about drinking - it becomes accepted truth.

But for now let us accept that all this is true and that Laura's later comment is also true:

We must increase food production and overcome our squeamishness to modified crops

If there isn't enough food then increasing production is the right thing to do. However, Ms Sandys then dredges up a load of protectionist nonsense that runs entirely counter to the need for greater production and lower food prices:

...our import levels – the largest in the developed world – expose us to currency volatility and export bans

It beggars belief that, having concluded that intensification, genetic modification and greater efficiency is needed to meet demand and reduce prices, Ms Sandys then proposes a measure that will cut supply and increase prices. This is the crass myth of "food security" that results in gluts and corruption in developed world agriculture while at the same time seeing thousands of Africans barely subsisting for want of markets for the products they can grow.

The idea of "food security" is just protectionism bundled up as something else. And protectionism is just a tax on consumers transferred to a selected group of producers.


1 comment:

Curmudgeon said...

Yes, international trade boosts prosperity. Amazing that a Conservative MP doesn't seem to recognise that.