It’s not a cost of living crisis. It’s a shortage crisis.

Shortages of any resource mean price rises. The risks and threats to our food supplies are increasing. At an accelerating pace, too.

The reason why? The causes of food shortages aren’t going away. Things are only going to get worse.

Look at this infographic (click on it if you want to see a tad more detail):

In summary, we don’t have a “cost of living crisis”. What we have is a shortage crisis — and of the commodities we need to keep alive.

Question: What is a post-Johnson Government going to do:

  • To mitigate the effects on households who can’t afford to buy the good food they need?
    • Any action will be delayed until a new PM is in place, by which time the situation will be worse.*
    • note: Unlike previous times of hunger, calorie supply is not the issue, it’s the supply of nutrient-dense foods.
  • To use investment, fiscal policies, regulation and its enforcement and trade agreements to ameliorate the situation; i.e. use their powers to affect the factors in the left-hand column of the infographic above?
  • To put a buffer/reserve stock system in place?
    • The UK currently doesn’t have the capacity and capability to put such a system in place.
    • note: Scroll down the blogpost cited above for our link to our scenarios work on buffer capacity, also linked here.

We’re continuing our scenarios work on buffer stock models — of which more later!

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* As a result of extreme weather events, Defra reported UK’s 2020 wheat harvest was a whopping 40% lower than the previous year.

Imagine that happens in 2022 (currently looking unlikely), when the Ukraine 2021 harvest is still stuck in Black Sea ports, the Russian harvest not coming our way. And the global fertiliser shortage because of the war already affecting yields . . .

 

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The Birmingham Food Council is a Community Interest Company registered in England and Wales number 8931789