A food crisis is what happens when a global chain collapses. might have to get used to

allA widely shared assumption throughout my life was that there is always food to buy, no matter what the cost. no more All of this was challenged when suddenly Russia successfully blocked Ukraine, blocking exports of crucial grain and oilseeds. The West is right to praise Ukraine’s amazing achievements on the battlefield. However, Russia still has cards that could be a decisive advantage in this war. Pay attention when the UN secretary-general warns of the specter of a world food shortage. Likewise, the governor of the Bank of England has been ridiculed for his warnings of a food catastrophe. He may choose his words poorly, but he was right.

What raises these warnings is that there is no substitute for Ukraine’s grain exports, which account for 9% of the world’s worsened by declining grain exports from Russia. Only a fraction of Ukraine’s grain harvest can reach the world market either by road or through ports in Romania. Russia has no intention of lifting the blockade while it faces sanctions that could last for years given Ukraine’s stalemate.

So, it is certain that grain prices are already 59% higher than in January. Those who cannot pay will simply go without. prospect of famine It spreads to hundreds of millions of people in poor countries and causes a new flood of refugees.

The UK will not be affected either. Although the grain is self-sufficient. Overall, we depend on our income to About half of our food needs. Countries facing global grain and other food shortages are simply halting food exports. Already 22 countries have banned 10% of all food trade. Our four major food suppliers are France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany, which were EU neighbors and former partners but are now becoming too independent enemies.

But right now, the Johnson administration is poised to risk an EU trade war by unilaterally dropping out of the Brexit treaty with habitual reckless incompetence and obsessive hatred of everything that has to do with the EU. The UK may not want to damage important EU food imports, already delaying regulatory overhaul until the end of next year. But should EU member states play ball with a country whose leader is regarded as the worst deceitful clown of a party that never loses a chance to criticize the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) built to ensure food security in Europe? ?

Suddenly, the CAP seems like a strategic asset, and the EU is moving to strengthen farmers’ productive capacity and self-sufficiency in a way that is completely contrary to the recent British neglect of its own people with contempt. The EU can respond to British provocations and decide that food security in the EU is paramount, exporting food only to places where it is needed more than the UK. Expanding already massive food aid to Ukraine – Or make shipping and shipping regulatory requirements much more difficult. Doing so creates a food shortage in the UK as EU producers can sell their food elsewhere.

If the EU doesn’t want to do that, there are other effective means of bringing down Boris Johnson. Russia is the world’s largest fertilizer exporter. 300% surge after western trade sanctions. The UK produces only two-fifths of the fertilizer farmers need, with the rest mainly imported from the EU, particularly Germany.

Fertilizer and chemical production is an area where Brexit UK is a major import to Northern Ireland, seeing “opportunities” to break away from EU single market rules that ensure high product and safety standards. The EU only needs to stop or reduce EU fertilizer exports to the UK. Fearing our desire to weaken these regulations, we are crucifying UK agricultural production, which is already faltering with skyrocketing feed and fuel costs.

We are so heavily governed by ministers and parties living in a sealed right-wing bubble that food rations in 2023 are a real risk. You might think that more Brexit voters lied. The bigger point is that the conviction that globalization will continue over the past 30 years has made the world’s food production and distribution systems more interdependent, with a focus on a handful of countries and a handful of powerful agricultural enterprises. As my colleague George Monbiot argues in his powerful book playThe system has become increasingly market-based and less resilient, with some countries, particularly the UK, assuming no wasteful things like storage facilities, food stockpiles or ensuring strong domestic environmentally sustainable production are necessary.

Food, animal feed and fertilizers flow seamlessly through a secure international supply chain. The “global” UK can go one step further and cast off the helpless “shackles” of the CAP and buy cheap food everywhere from the carelessness of British farmers, quality food and the environment. One of Britain’s most proud foreign secretary, Leeds Truss, is to please Brexit rights.

Today, entire intellectual buildings look very stupid and even dangerous. The resilience and sustainability of food production and distribution, along with ensuring that everyone has a healthy diet, constitutes the basic building blocks of our civilization, even if ridiculed by Conservative supporters and weakened by the Brexers.

Last week’s inflation of 9% was driven by unlimited energy bills and rising food prices. The UK’s inflation rate (the highest among the G7 countries) is because it has the most resilient and most market-based systems for providing core goods and services and is not part of the big block that can partially protect itself from global trends. is. . We are the corks thrown helplessly into the oceans of the world.

Finally, the curtain of the great Thatcherite experiment is coming down. The tragic sympathy for millions of people will figure out how misguided their leaders are in the most difficult way – either through junk food or, worse yet, starvation.

Will Hutton is an observer columnist.

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