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From the editor: Agricultural efficiency has been demonised by blinkered elite

As Christmas approaches and children get ready for the arrival of Santa, it is a time of year when many put aside common sense and believe in the unbelievable, namely that of a 20-stone bloke in a red suit crawling down the chimney.

And yet, given the recent election pitches of the main political parties, one would have to embrace a sack-full of such childish naivety to believe that any of the politicians are talking sense, especially Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s free broadband pledge.

 

Although, as our Powys farm writer James Powell sagely observes, broadband of any sort, whether free or not, would be nice in some rural areas.

 

Wishful thinking would also have to be in ample supply to believe that Henry Dimbleby, who is leading the Government’s Food strategy review, is focusing on the right areas in order to properly drive change within the UK food supply chain.

 

His comments, as with so many of his ilk, are littered with current buzzwords focusing on biodiversity, carbon neutrality and so on. They also froth with an overbearing sense of entitlement which cloys to many actors in the political/legislative bubble, namely their resentment towards people eating ‘cheap food’.

 

The suggestion that producing the maximum amount of food from the available land to feed a growing population ‘did not work’, seems to blithely ignore the fact the world is hurtling towards nine billion residents.


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It also seems to suggest that it is somehow farmers and agricultural practices which are to blame.

 

However, with consumers usually buying on price and large food retailers exploiting that with a focus on high volume and low margins, a system which has changed the face of British farming more than anything else over the past 50 years, it would seem more appropriate for that sector to be the focus of his attention.

 

That fundamental link between the cheap food policies of large retailers, and the low margins which force economies of scale on British farms, seems perpetually lost on the likes of Mr Dimbleby, something which does not bode well for agriculture and this latest review.

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