‘Britain faces food crises that could swing elections’

October 7th, 2008 - 7:34 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 7 (IANS) The price and supply of food could decide the outcome of future elections in Britain, says a leading strategic thinktank.The London-based Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institute for International Affairs, says in a report that a food crisis is highly likely in Britain, as its food system is unable to cope with rapid changes in supply driven by climate change, rising energy prices and population growth.

The report, quoted by The Guardian newspaper Tuesday, says British consumers are likely to have to accept “a shift from individual preferences to a system in which government and industry have to ensure the food that is sold reflects the wider needs of society”.

The newspaper said the report, to be published next month, points out that emerging economies such as China and India are shifting to more meat and dairy products, and that this will put greater pressure on food and feed prices, and exacerbate environmental and health problems.

Britain’s food minister Hilary Benn told a Chatham House conference Monday: “With rising prices and increasing demand across the globe, we can’t take our food supply for granted.

“Our supply needs to be reliable and resilient and able to withstand shocks and crises.”

The newspaper said the remarks appeared to mark a shift in government policy.

The Chatham House report also says developed countries face a chronic shortage of migrant workers, leading to the loss of seasonal crops. In Scotland up to a fifth of the soft fruit crop, worth 5.2 million pounds, could be lost in 2008.

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