‘Luddite views’ on GM crops waning, says Lord Haskins
ROG WOOD November 14 2007
Food inflation is beginning to worry some governments and it threatens to slow the global economy. That could lead to a rethink on renewable energy policies that are diverting increasing areas of land from food production to energy crops.
"We are moving to a world where politicians will want to protect consumers from rising food prices," said Lord Haskins of Skidby, former chairman of Northern Foods.
Speaking at the Scottish Agricultural College's pre-conference dinner at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Haskins reminded guests that Argentina and Russia had already limited their food exports to keep domestic prices at an affordable level for their consumers.
advertisementIn a thought-provoking speech, Haskins predicted that the world's population would rise by 30% in the lifetime of the guests, but the world's supply of land suitable for cultivation was unlikely to increase by more than 10%.
The population was predicted to rise from 6.5 billion to 9 billion in the next 40 years. There would also be more problems with climate change, dwindling water supplies and increasing levels of disease in intensive livestock.
"There is also the problem of waste. 30% of our food is thrown in the bins of western consumers. We need dramatic scientific innovations and improvement in the performance of poorer farmers, as well as less waste by consumers," he stated.
"The Luddite views in Western Europe and America are now on the wane. Folk are gradually beginning to accept the arguments for GM (genetically modified) technology."