Thousands of tonnes of soft fruit rotted in the fields last year.
The Guardian newspaper today (you can get this bit free on line) that thousands of tonnes of fruit went unpicked in UK fields last year because of a shortage of 4000 labour. British workers do not want to do it and Brexit fears has left many EU workers at home.
So what is the answer? Logic is simple;automate or get out and into something else.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd. 9 February 2018
Overseas investors HAVE bought the electricity pylon in the background and are “milking” UK consumers. Will overseas buy our land next?
Just suppose we might, quite shortly, need to produce more food, a lot more food, at home in the UK? Why ask? Well, try taking a look at the Guardian article by Paul Mason; “The Soviet Union collapsed overnight. Don’t assume western democracy will last forever”. There is certainly a shift of power going on at present with “democratic” power shifting from the establishment to a “populist” move against globalisation and in the direction of protectionist nationalism. Donald Trump rode to power on this realisation. As this happens, we may not be able to trade in the established way and that includes food imports. It would be wise, as we approach Brexit, to stop building on good agricultural land and make sure agriculture is in good heart. Just suppose Mr Trump continues to put America first and UK politicians continue to allow foreign investors to buy our assets. Will foreign interests also buy UK farmland?
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 26 Jan 2018
Bringing home the harvest may be very different after Brexit which will bring the biggest change in British farming since the second world war.
Whatever the government says and promises, there is a pretty good chance that Brexit means the end of subsidies for productive farming. The current indicators are for “fluffy” grants for “environmental” protection and projects. All very politically correct and, as usual, devoid of facing reality of the need for food security balanced with environmental care. Forget for a moment that the only real way to protect the environment is to stop and reverse population growth. Look instead at what options farming might have in the event of loss of cash support.
Farming can become more efficient at lower cost. (Nothing new in that and we can keep improving.) Farming can produce more per ha. (We will keep doing that too.) Farming can add value, – by vertical integration. Farming can diversify. We really do need to be looking more actively with fresh eyes at all of these.
Land Research Ltd 27 Dec 17
Normally, I restrict the use of this blog to technical matters. However, sometimes there is a wider philosophical issue which I feel strongly about and which affects the development of regulation on technical issues and how we employ labour. This is one such issue, click on http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b092gkks