July update

Coronavirus is Exposing the Inequities in Food Supply Chains – Read the report on this important issue from SFADG members Vivienne Kynaston (Fairtrade) and Hazel Jones (Oxfam).

Food and Environmental Standards – You may have signed one of the petitions reflecting huge concern by farming, consumer and environmental groups that trade deals will lead to a lowering of current UK food standards, so it is good news that Liz Truss, the Trade Secretary, has at last agreed to set up a Trade and Agriculture Commission. However, it’s not clear that this commission will be set up in time to influence the trade negotiations that are currently taking place. The Commission will also be time-limited and advisory only. Assurances that government have been giving on standards seem to apply more to food safety, rather than environmental or animal welfare standards. The word “equivalence” seems to give leeway to how our current food safety standards are interpreted. Incentivisation of adoption of new technologies, including fast-tracking of genetically-engineered crops and livestock, is firmly in the Agriculture Bill. This is despite the absence of any proper public debate as to whether we want our food production to be taken in this direction (there seem to be many vested interests that do!). Many environmental organisations seem to have been so centred on the “public goods” and habitats for wildlife that are part of the Bill that they seem to have turned a blind eye to the drive for intensive crop and livestock production that is at the heart of this Bill, although artfully masked – I can’t help wondering whose strategic thinking was responsible for that.