Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma.
This is a guest blog by Dr Ludivine Petetin, Senior Lecturer in Law at Cardiff University and member of the Agricultural Law Association Brexit Advisory Committee. Here, she discusses why food security is one of the most pressing issues facing us today.
Here in the UK, we only produce 60% of the food we consume, and the rest is exported to the rest of the world. For example, 40% of Welsh lamb is exported and 92% of these exports are to the EU.
With a global food crisis looking likely, the incentive for improving productivity to ‘feed the world’ is appealing, and the risk of going back to less environmentally friendly practices are a real threat. Rather than regressing and lowering environmental standards, there is an opportunity to increase the push for sustainability, agroecology and agroforestry and to fully implement the Well-being of Future Generations 2015 and the Environment Act 2016.
Reshaping the way we produce food
Brexit and COVID-19 has shown how important it is to have agri-food supply chains that are operational. These issues also provide opportunities for us to rethink how agri-food systems work, and how we can increase the localness of the food supply chain.
It’s crucial that future agri-food systems are redesigned to be fair and just for all and that decision making throughout these systems and at all levels lead to this outcome. I discuss this requirement in greater detail in a recent open access journal article that I wrote in April 2020 entitled ‘The COVID-19 Crisis: An Opportunity to Integrate Food Democracy into Post-Pandemic Food Systems’.
In order to build fair and just agri-food systems that are reliable and work with nature, and that are local and resilient in a post-pandemic Wales, we need to focus on four characteristics:
The ‘Sustainable Farming and our Land’ document published in 2019 is no longer fit for purpose to resolve the challenges faced by the agri-food supply chain post COVID-19. Agricultural and food policies can no longer be kept apart and need to be based on multilevel approaches with crucial input from farmers. Closer engagement with trade, health (including diet) and migration (for agricultural workers) policies is also lacking.
Moving forwards towards green recovery, better coordination between the different levels of governments and governance within Wales and the rest of the UK as well as between public policies is crucial to enhance sustainable, joined-up approaches to agri-food systems that lead to holistic, democratic agri-food policies supporting primary producers and local shops.
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