“The crop on the right was not worth harvesting and abandoned. 4000 people dies as a result.
I have shown a picture of this farm field before but I now have a further reasons to visit it again. The farm appears to have abandoned harvest and it appears that the crop yield would not justify the charges by the contractor brought in to combine the crop. The farmer claims to farm “organically”.
Now, according to the UN, over 100,000,000 people in central Africa are on the edge of starvation. Most will actually die and it would be kinder to actually shoot them – starvation is not a very nice way to leave this earth. The farm in the picture has, at the time of writing, over 100 ha apparently abandoned. How many people would that feed? Well, each ha of that land would yield 8, maybe 10 tonnes of wheat, let us say 8, year in, year out. So, 800 tonnes per annum. How many would that support? Well, it depends on the dietary level. To survive without getting fat but having enough calories to work, probably around 5 people for a full year on each tonne is a reasonable guide.
That means that if the farmer of the land in the picture had been employing current UK technology, he could be saving the lives of 4000 people, maybe more. So by farming badly, he has murdered 4000 people? Too harsh? Maybe but the observation does underline two things that are as relevant today as they have ever been;
- We who farm the land have a responsibility to the global human population to use its productive capacity for everyone’s benefit. Good, safe food is needed and a lot of it.
- The question about organic v. technology and chemicals is a real one but we need production. Acceptation of reduced production by any method of farming, really does condemn others to death. So, there is a question of the balance of risks. Certainly, there are risks in using pesticides and mineral fertilisers. The risk of starvation is very real to some. So, provided these risks are continually managed which option? Well, British farming probably does produce the safest food in the world. Technology in responsible hands is the only solution to reducing starvation.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, September 17
Bread from Morrisons. Yes, the UK does produce the safest food in the world. Here, the rules are more sophisticated and better policed than anywhere else.
The whole of agricultural policy following two world wars, was food security and “food” was identified as farm crops as harvested. . While we forget that lesson at our peril, we now have to think in terms of Adding Value. Doing that by taking a harvested crop (such as vegetables) and processing and packaging them is certainly a step in the right direction. However, there is another way of looking at Adding Value and that is at an industry level for the national economy. One of the most important ways we can do that is to accept, co-operate with and seek to influence and re-direct regulation and regulators to deliver what is, and should be recognised as already the case, the safest food in the world.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd., 26 April 2017
Click here for Survival
Municipal waste on its way to Frog Island on the Thames estuary There is enough waste in western society, to fertilise enough crop,s to feed western society,
The UN warning of 3 million people facing what will for most of them be unavoidable starvation and death is not new. Malthus predicted it in 1798 and we have been doing a bit since then but not enough. If you are comfortable, why do anything at all about it? In any case, as an individual, what you do is insignificant.
An international consequence is that empty bellies always lead to war. In the history of the world, that has always been true. Could we fill bellies globally? Technically, the answer is yes, we can. Military conflict often gets in the way. Political will in developed countries always gets in the way. It is almost a lifetime away that Bob Geldoff stood up in the EU Parliament and observed that the situation of global hunger and the plenty of Western counties was “obscene”. It is now worse.
How do we fix it? Simply use urban wastes to fertilise land and grow better crops. It has been done in the UK and Egypt, and lots of other places. We need to scale it up and urgently. It would save a lot of imports in the UK, too, The environment would be better off, See “Survival”.
Land Research Ltd 25 MaRCH 2017
To be made from plant protein or animal protein;, that is the question.
There is no doubt that awareness of what is good for the planet exists, particularly amongst the middle class, some of whom will actually do something. Mostly, however, those with a lot of money (Trumpists) will pay lip service to the subject but carry on enjoying themselves. Those with less money are just driven by cash and survival – care of the planet tomorrow is irrelevant. The truth is that the mass of the electorate in western democracies is voting against the establishment.
A further truth is that meat production takes a lot more resources than crops and is not as conducive to a long, healthy life as is plant-based protein. In an episode of Years of Living Dangerously, Gisele Bündchen and Andrew Steer reveal that producing meat and dairy is responsible for 85 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions from Americans’ diets. Shifting to more plant-based foods can make a big impact. (But Donald Trump does not seem likely to move in that direction.)
To make the switch to plant-based protein, the global population needs to make wind (“farting”) socially acceptable, even sexy. Pity the F-Plan diet was a short-lived fashion. We need to bring it back.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd. 7 February 2017