Jay Rayner tries to do the economics of food again.

And as you would expect, doesn\’t quite manage to get it right.

And yet a vibrant, thriving agriculture sector is not some optional luxury. It\’s not something we can take for granted. The availability of affordable, quality food – the robustness of British food security in the 21st century – depends upon it.

OK, agreed. Food security is indeed important.

British wheat harvests are down nearly 15% and much of it is of very poor quality. In 2011, 90% of the harvest was of a high enough grade – rich in protein and gluten – to be milled for flour. In 2012 only 10% was. Millers had to import the rest.

And given that Britain is a small and sometimes damp island we cannot gain food security by depending upon domestic agriculture. As Mr. Rayner shows us. It is absolutely vital that we source our food from a variety of geographic regions and weather systems.

All of which is fine: until we get to Mr. Rayner\’s suggestion of how we should achieve food security: depend upon British farming.

Why is it that people just won\’t believe their own evidence?

6 thoughts on “Jay Rayner tries to do the economics of food again.”

  1. “Why is it that people just won’t believe their own evidence?”

    Because you have a presumption, one works from evidence towards a conclusion.
    The writer starts with the conclusion. British farming in “crisis” should be supported. Then works backwards gathering “evidence” for that position. If you’re going to criticise that, you negate pretty well all of Guardian style journalism & most “progressive” thinking.

    Please try & keep up with the program.

  2. Is there ever a time that farmers aren’t complaining of a crisis?

    Andwe know why dairy farmers are suffering – there’s too many of them, overproducing milk.

  3. Mind you, if government health propagandists hadn’t indoctrinated the population with the belief that milk, butter and cheese are dangerous substances, maybe there wouldn’t be too many of them. Still, things are as they are.

  4. Every single year that I can remember, dairy farmers en masse have been claiming that they are producing milk below cost, because of the evil supermarkets.

    How do we have any dairy farmers left at all?

  5. Interested: combination of subsidy for land area under cultivation; and people not being strictly economically rational.

    The latter means that dairy farmers don’t want to sell up and work in a call centre, even though they’d make more money.

    The former means that, even if the margin on each additional litre of milk sold is negative, a dairy farmer still has just about enough money to pay the bills and stay in business.

  6. British wheat harvests are down nearly 15% and much of it is of very poor quality. In 2011, 90% of the harvest was of a high enough grade – rich in protein and gluten – to be milled for flour. In 2012 only 10% was. Millers had to import the rest.

    Absolute guff.
    Yes, 2012 harvest was rubbish but it didn’t come in until Aug /Sep, so for 8 months of 2012 millers were running on 2011 harvest, which was average to good for breadmaking flour. The flour millers will import more than usual this year, because bushel weights are low and the amount of flour they get per truck of wheat is down, but suggest we will import 12 million tonnes or so of wheat in the 2012-13 campaign is nonsense. They will just fortify with protein from the industries (eg starch) that mill wheat and extract the gluten as a co-product – as they do every year, but more so, and at a higher price. In the meantime they are raking it in from unusually high prices for their own co-product, wheatfeed, which is feeding stock (kept off the grass by the wet weather) much longer than usual and at a high value due to the global protein shortage.

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