Government, consumers and retailers must get used to the idea
that the days of over-cheap food are over, the National Beef
Association has warned.
It says there is too much complacency at all levels and not enough
notice taken of the increased population pressure on the world’s
food and energy production resources – or the impending impact
of millions more people in China, India and South America demanding
their share of access to commodity markets that were once the almost
exclusive reserve of the leading Western nations.
“Fuel, food and other basic raw material prices will all feel the heat
when the full force of this demand is unleashed,” forecast new National
Beef Association director Kim Haywood.
“Signs of this new pressure on the food market are already evident in the
UK through corrective rises for previously undervalued ex-farm dairy products
and grain and they will eventually exert themselves in the seriously underappreciated
red meat sector too.”
But according to the NBA die hard attitudes could still kill off important domestic
supply routes. Government is still fixated by its low food price inflation policies
even though it has conceded that climate change means food can no longer be produced,
and energy consumed, as if the world had infinite resources.
While supermarkets continue to pursue outdated pricing policies in which home
produced beef is consistently sold for less than it costs to produce and consumers,
who appear to show no real appreciation of the true value of food, seem blissfully
unaware that current retail pricing systems make future supplies of British beef
so untenable that current supply levels cannot possibly continue.
“Some huge shocks are on the way and the NBA is worried that too many people,
across all spectrums, will be taken by surprise,” said Ms Haywood.
“Calamity, in which shrinking global food supplies coincide with a reduction
in the UK’s food production, can only be avoided if food producers earn
enough income to stay in business.”
“Hopeful signs of supply sustainability are beginning to emerge in the
cereals and dairy sectors but struggling beef farmers will be forced to throw
in the towel unless they too can see enough income encouragement to persuade
them to stay in business.”
“And if government, retailers and consumers take no action because they
think ample world beef supplies will continue to be available they can think
again because the five year forecast is that there will not be enough surplus
beef in the world to top up EU supplies – never mind satisfy new consumers
in emerging economic hot spots.”
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