Matens pris (The price of food) a book

Matens pris (The price of food) a book by  Malin Olofsson och Daniel Öhman. Reporto 2011.

Two well informed and ambitious journalists make a journey round the world: Fish farms in Vietnam, soybean in Brazil, pigs and poultry in Europe, greenhouse vegetables in The Netherlands.

The main conclusion is the same as in my book (Mat, klimat , miljö): The global market of today can not consider environmental aspects if this has a cost. The economy, costs and prices, is driving.

In the food chain the primary producer will always be squeezed. He cannot pass the costs.

This is a major problem for our world. Much could be done by international guidelines giving more priority to environment and sustainability than price competition. But there are political obstacles.

In the book it is hoped that small scale production and organic farming can help the world. Sure, they have a role to play, but, as is stated in the book, in spite of all efforts to promote organic products their market share is only 4%. The world has large and growing cities needing food, and for that more production is needed, not less. (But of course better food management can help somewhat).

But the usual popular ideas are aired:

“Nitrogen fertilizer costs energy” (but the fact that 5-10 times more solar energy is captured is neglected)

“Organic production is climate smart” (per hectare, yes, but the lower production changes the picture and the total sum can be plus or minus).

In these issues the critical journalistic ambition takes a holiday,

My own reflection:

There is a way or at least a path to pursue: help the farmers to find better ways within the system (rotations, soil fertility measures, adaptation of inputs etc). Use available knowledge to explore win-win situations improving both economy and environment. Yes – we will do that.



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2 Responses to “Matens pris (The price of food) a book”

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