Anorak News | Floods Can’t Beat Supermarkets

Floods Can’t Beat Supermarkets

by | 25th, July 2007

SAMIZDATA explains:

The UK floods are still wreaking havoc. I have friends who live in the Thames Valley area and they are out of danger, but many other people are not so fortunate. Besides the damage to homes, another problem will be the damage to crops. In my native East Anglia, the wheat harvest – the area is a sort of mini-version of the North American plains – is likely to be poor. Horticulture, in areas like Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire on the Fens, has been hammered, although thanks to modern greenhouses and the like, not everything has been lost. We can expect prices of groceries, or at least some items, to go up, at least in the short run.

That got me wondering about our food supplies. As I mentioned in a previous post, the terrible summer of 1845 led to the Irish famine. In centuries past, bad weather was not just destructive in some ways but it also meant people starved in their millions. That is unlikely to happen now. And one reason for that is that we are no longer reliant on home-grown food. Food production is not only much greater because of modern techniques, drainage, use of fertilisers and machinery, but also because the 60m souls on this sodden island have access to a global market for food. Free trade can be a risk – this nation’s food supply routes need to be protected by naval forces, as we found out during the German U-boat menace – but in normal circumstances, having a diverse range of non-UK supplies for food makes great sense, particularly as climatic conditions change, as some argue.

The next time you watch a programme or read an article going on about the wonders of self-sufficiency and which bash supermarkets and global trade in foodstuffs, ponder what would happen if we really were reliant on the local farmers for everything we eat.

Posted: 25th, July 2007 | In: Reviews Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink