Posting in Energy
A recent report threatens that U.S and U.K dominance in the farming industry is in danger of losing global influence.
An extensive new report released by the Oxford Farming Conference conducts an in-depth analysis of where true global power lies in food production, and has found future roles will be altered in relation to resource availability.
The commissioned report adopted the name: 'Agriculture: Tomorrow's Power'.
Carried out by SAC (The Scottish Agricultural Centre), the report finds that the U.K is a relatively small player in a market currently dominated by United States, European Union, China and Russia. However, the dominance of the U.S and E.U is under pressure by an increasing lack of natural resources -- including water reserves, agricultural land and fertilizer.
The report painted a bleak future for the current dominant market players; suggesting that control over resources has the potential to become a major political battle in the future.
High prices for fertilisers, fuel and livestock feed are likely to increase, and there is serious concern over possible future lack of water resources.
The emerging powers of China, Russia and Brazil in the industry are predicted to become heavyweights, although they may not have enough arable land in relation to their own population size.
The report's findings on the current global power index in agriculture are:
- United States
Being a competitive player within food production now relies on becoming more productive. As an example, the U.S 'Super' dairy farms are able to produce enough to cope with increasing demand -- British versions wouldn't stand a chance when it comes to sheer volume production.
Production power currently lies within North America and Europe. However, the report suggests there is going to be radical shifts in the production market by 2020. Increased competition with emerging markets including China, India and Brazil are likely to affect 'land grabbing', resource control and exports.
These countries currently enjoy higher energy reserves such as water allotment and natural resources. In comparison, it is unlikely that the intensive farming practices of the European Union and Britain will be sustainable in the long-term, especially considering an increasing population rate and longer life expectancy across the globe.
The report also reviews the emergence of a small number of transnational corporations (TNCs). These corporations, although few in number, control a large proportion of agricultural trade. Only four companies account for an estimated 75-90 per cent of grain exports.
“The emergence of these corporate players in the food sector has created a major orientation in the focus of power even further away from farmers,” the report suggests.
Export capabilities of the EU-27 are predicted to lessen, unless policy changes are implemented to increase growth in farming. The report suggests that if dominance over the market is to be sustained, then in the face of tightening supplies, more research and development is required to help production -- and trade rules must be modernized to cope.
Jan 3, 2012
The current agricultural leaders do well simply because they have most of the arable land. Grains except rice generally do not like the humid, wet environments of equatorial countries. Fruits and many vegetables do the best in temperate climates like the US. But more than that, this study overlooks the importance of economic systems in agricultural development. Agriculture in the US succeeded because we developed the vast financing, transportation, R&D, and support companies to make it successful. Russia has some of the best land in the world for growing grain, but it has problems providing the resources to support it. Brazil had poor infrastructure and economic systems to support agriculture until recently. That is changing because the economy is becoming more capitalistic, but nobody knows how far along Brazil will go. China's agriculture was based upon small family subsistence plots for a long time. These do not allow the most productive agriculture. They have recently begun appropriating these plots and joining them to create larger more efficient farms -- but this action is understandably causing a great deal of resentment from the family farmers. In the north, heavy agriculture without proper conservation techniques is actually turning good farming land into desert, much like what happened in the US during the Dust Bowl. It's unclear how productive China will ultimately become.
Seeing as how we've been doing everything wrong for so long, I'd love to see the rest of the world have a chance and see how they do. I expect they can teach us a thing or two. We subsidize the production of cereal grains and then turn them into high-calorie, nutrient deficient foods and then force feed the leftovers to animals that are trapped in feedlots and cages. Then we wonder why we and our animals are so unhealthy. We have given ourselves diabetes with this crap. We try to keep the animals alive with steroids and antibiotics long enough to get them to market. I would love to see an end to our current system of agriculture.
You may decry what we do with our cereals, but it's what the world wants. McDonald's and other fast food places do just as well abroad as here.