Curry ingredients make recipe for UK’s sustainable future
BRITAIN could grow more spices and chickpeas for curries as the climate changes and as part of efforts to make the food system more sustainable, a government report suggested today.
Significant amounts of energy could also be saved if more energy-efficient toasters were invented, according to the Green Food Project, which looks at how to produce more food while protecting the environment.
The project examined how production and consumption could change in five areas – wheat, dairy, bread, curry and geographical areas – in the future.
A report for the UK government last year predicted the world’s population would hit nine billion by 2050, and food production would have to increase by 70 per cent in the face of the rise in population, obesity and meat and dairy-rich diets.
It also estimated that between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of all food grown worldwide may be wasted.
The Green Food Report, which brings together farmers, manufacturers, retailers, caterers, environmentalists and scientists, outlined measures to boost sustainable farming including improving research and development of technology.
It said that biotechnology could play a role in addressing some of the challenges surrounding food production, but investment and the “emotive nature” of the debate around genetic modification had affected progress.
While some in the industry warned the approvals process was creating unnecessary delays in getting products to market, the report said GM raised important health and environmental concerns and needed to be properly assessed.
Farming minister Jim Paice said: “With our increasingly hungry world, every country must play its part to produce more food and improve the environment. Britain already punches above its weight, but we’re a small island with limited space, so we’ve got to show leadership and play to our strengths more efficiently.
“We’re not talking about setting Soviet-style targets but an overall approach in which the whole food chain pulls together. Whether it means embracing new farming technology or people wasting less, we’ve got to become more sustainable.”
But WWF-UK said the project needed to be radical and ambitious and not just rehash existing initiatives, and raised concerns over a lack of specific targets and milestones.
The wildlife charity warned it was a “fool’s errand” to increase food production without addressing issues such as waste and diets, and said manufacturers and retailers should be key in boosting sustainable diets.
Mark Driscoll, head of WWF-UK’s food programme, said: “We support the collaborative approach taken by the Green Food Project as a, very small, first step.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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