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Blog action day: World food day

October 16, 2011

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Photo: UN
Blog action day is all about World Food Day, which is today. The theme of this year’s World Food Day is food prices. I’m no expert on food prices, and the metrics behind them, but I still have a couple of thoughts on them.

Food prices are rising. The cost of food is set to rise up to 40% over the next ten years, and with the global population expected to rise to over 9 billion by 2050, food security is going to be a big issue. This is World Food Day, us here in Britain may not realise just how well off we are when we’re moaning about Morrison’s being slightly more expensive than Asda. Amongst some of the worlds poorest, spending 80% of your income on food doesn’t raise an eyebrow.

What is the problem behind these statistics? Is it our production systems? I don’t think so, I think it must be the whole system. The way food passes through so many hands, from farmer to supermarket, via processors and others, each step must add cost to to the end product. Perhaps this is part of the problem, the reliance in developed countries on processed food.

Food is so important. Quite embarrassingly, I’ve been watching the new series of Big Brother on channel 5. As a joke last week, one of the housemates ordered 500 bananas, and not a lot more. Over the last week, tempers have frayed and they have learnt the importance of good food. They’ve not starved, far from it, they’ve got huge quantities of bananas, yet they have really felt the impact. One of the housemates went as far as to say, “food is life”. Perhaps I can remind you of Lee’s post from a while back.

Food is a lot of things to a lot of people. It’s a necessity to life, but it costs to produce. If prices go up in production, to not reflect these in the end product is a recipe for disaster.

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