0000293 - PAGE 10 THEWORLDTODAY.ORG FEBRUARY 2008 The days...

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Unformatted text preview: PAGE 10 THEWORLDTODAY.ORG FEBRUARY 2008 The days when the consumer could command ample supplies of ever-cheaper delicacies from around the world may be over for ever. Food prices are rising dramatically, and probably permanently, hitting the world’s leading economies. In developing countries, there have been queues for wheat in Pakistan, a shortage of rice in Bangladesh and Afghanistan has appealed for international help with supplies. Mealtime is about to become an important international issue for everyone. | INDEPENDENT THINKING ON INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Lunchas a Strateg BRITAIN’S FOOD SUPPLY KATE BAILEY SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE IN THE FOOD PROCESS INNOVATION UNIT, CARDIFF BUSINESS SCHOOL. b RITAIN HAS CONSISTENTLY benefited from the international trade in food. Globalisation has multiplied our sources of supply and helped to develop new tastes and improved nutrition. But modern food systems have also exposed the country’s supply networks as never before to trends and influences that are beyond the control of any one nation. Significant global changes can already be detected or anticipated. By 2050 the world’s population is projected to exceed nine billion and the desire of the undernourished of today to increase their share of daily calories will continue to assert itself. Global land capacity is changing, with differing views on the area likely to be available for cultivation and its expansion potential. Many world food production regions are experiencing degrees of water stress, with difficulties and costs compounded by pollution and salination. Climate is expected to have a growing impact on agriculture and food production, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere promising changes in rainfall patterns, increased flooding, droughts, fires and more intense storms. Higher prices of goods and services that support food supply are also having an effect; oil has just hit $100 a barrel and analysts continue to debate whether we have reached the moment of ‘peak oil’ or maximum output. Rising fuel prices have contributed to the higher costs of a taut global shipping capacity, itself already tested by port congestion and the need for longer trade routes as Asian nations in particular venture beyond traditional regional areas. The Baltic Dry Freight Index, a measure of the volume of global trade, passed the ten thousand mark for the first time in October, having been at the four thousand level only a year earlier. INFINITE CHOICE Over the last half century, the power of national policy to shape food patterns in Britain and other developed countries has been gradually reduced. In a culture that expects food systems to deliver year-round choice, cheap prices, assured availability and unprecedented quality, the individual consumer is now king....
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0000293 - PAGE 10 THEWORLDTODAY.ORG FEBRUARY 2008 The days...

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