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Scotland’s Food System at a Crossroads David Atkinson Food and Drink Leadership Forum & ACTS Rural Committee.

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Presentation on theme: "Scotland’s Food System at a Crossroads David Atkinson Food and Drink Leadership Forum & ACTS Rural Committee."— Presentation transcript:

1 Scotland’s Food System at a Crossroads David Atkinson Food and Drink Leadership Forum & ACTS Rural Committee

2 Food Sovereignty: What is It? Food at the heart of Policy A clear view of where our food will come from now and in the future i.e. Climate change type issues are embedded, leading to food security. An appropriate infrastructure which makes food accessible and affordable to all. It does NOT require all food to be home produced or a production and distribution network under state control



5 Chatham House Pressures Population: Increase demand from a rapidly rising world population Diet: The effect of “nutrition translation.” Energy: Energy dependence of current systems. Land: The potential to increase the amount of land available to agriculture is limited Water: Increase in global stresses on available water. Climate Change: Predicted that world agricultural GDP output will decline by 16% by 2020. Labour: a decreased rural population able to produce primary produce.

6 Chatham House Predictions The absolute level of food production worldwide is rising. Despite this, food prices have been rising Although absolute food production is rising, world population growth is outstripping the increase. Measured in terms of days of consumption, world grain stocks have now fallen to half the levels of the mid- 1980s In the short run food prices may well fall or be volatile, but the underlying supply shortfall must be confronted Systemic change will eventually be necessary

7 The Importance of Scottish Food production Food prices have been affected by government actions for most of recent history The gap between increasing world production and world population growth is decreasing An approach to the proportion of our food which we produce based only on economic factors would be unwise The aim of producing approaching two thirds of our food from our own resources would seem to be prudent


9 Climate change and Food security The impact of agriculture on GHG production The impact of land management The effects of our choice of agricultural types Options for changing resource use and externalities Home verses overseas production Impact on the post farm gate equation

10 Ruminant Animals Methane Grassland CO2 Soil Carbon Storage Food Nitrous Oxide Carbon containing inputs Fertiliser CO2

11 Fruit & vegetables Intake to double to more than 400grams per day Bread Intake to increase by 45 % from present daily intake of 106 grams, mainly using wholemeal and brown breads. Breakfast Cereals Average intake to double from the present intake of 17 grams per day Fats Average intake of total fat to reduce from 40.7% to no more than 35%.Average intake of saturated fatty acids to reduce from 16.6% to no more than 11% Scottish Dietary Targets

12 Meeting dietary targets by home production Inc. person. per year (kg) Amount for Scotland Th.tonnes % inc on current production Fruit & Veg 73371117 Bread174884125 (Wheat) Breakfast cereals 63230 (Oats)

13 Are Genetically Modified Crops the Solution to Current Food Security Problems?


15 GM Crop Performance The performance of GM crops has varied greatly between farms, farmers, crop varieties, regions, seasons. Institutional factors have a major impact Poor farmers have generally not done well from GM It isn’t the silver bullet some hoped for.

16 Some disadvantages of Climate Change genes Pleiotropy: The ability of a single gene to cause unintended physiological changes throughout the plant which resulting impact on yield and quality. The yield losses of bad years are experienced in all years Many of the gene patent applications cover a wide range of crops e.g. BASF ( US 7,161,063 environmental stresses in 32 crops

17 “ The biological fixation of N 2 is accompanied by the energetically wasteful reduction of protons to H 2 this represents a wasting of at least 25% of photosynthesis which is used for the fixation process” Minchin, Gordon and Witty (1996)


19 Share of UK household expenditure spent on food and non-alcoholic beverages 2005/2006

20 The Contribution of the Supermarkets The supermarkets currently dominate the food supply market and so are key players in any attempt to reduce the price of food or to maintain it in periods of market failure. They also have a pivotal role in any approach to promoting of healthy eating. More affluent and better educated groups are more likely to use multiple supermarkets and less affluent groups more likely to use discount supermarkets



23 Significant Tensions The proportion of the food consumed in Scotland which should be produced from our own resources. The amount of our land area which should be devoted to food production The methods which should be employed for food production The potential for the expansion of organic production Whether genetic modification has any role in the food we produce or import. The appropriate level of control exercised by the Supermarket sector. The future development of electronic food marketing relative to the maintenance of convenience food stores

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