Press stay focused on food price rises

Press coverage of what the Prime Minister has dubbed the ‘World Food Crisis’ and higher food prices continues to feature heavily in the national papers.

The Times is carrying a column under the headline: Get farmers to farm? How very radical.

It points out: “We might just recognise the role played in food inflation by the shrinkage of our own agriculture. In 1996 68.6% of all food consumed in the UK was produced here. By 2006 that had fallen to 59.5%.

“Here are some more figures that you won’t hear from the mouth of Gordon Brown, who normally spews statistics like a Soviet bureaucrat with an obsessive-compulsive disorder: the land dedicated to cereal production fell from 3.4 million hectares in 1996 to 2.8 million hectares in 2006. Head of cattle fell from 11.7m to 10.2m and pigs from 7.9m to 4.9m.

“If the fall in agricultural production over the past decade were a natural, market reaction to falling prices that will swiftly be reversed now that food prices are rising again it wouldn’t matter. Yet subsidies are still distorting the market just as much as they were a decade ago.

“The only difference is that instead of giving farmers bungs to produce large quantities of the wrong sort of food, we are now paying them to grow hedges, create nice homes for dormice or grow “biofuel” for the diesel engines of the nation’s 4x4s; virtually anything, in fact, other than producing food.”

Meanwhile, the Daily Express has launched its Cost of Living Index to give what it claims will be a true picture of the devastating effect rising costs are having on its readers.

It questions the government’s annual inflation rate of 2.5% pointing out the “soaring” cost of food, household bills, mortgages and taxes.

Are you concerned about how the papers are covering the subject of rising food prices. Share your thoughts with other farmers.



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