Here are a few facts according to DEFRA:
- Air-freighted food imports account for only around 1.25% of total food imports
in terms of volume, but they are responsible for some 10% of carbon dioxide
emissions generated by UK food transport.
- The UK imported around 0.78 million tonnes (mt) of fresh fruit and vegetables
from African nations in 2005. These goods had a declared value of £495m.
South Africa was the largest supplier, accounting for around 0.37 mt tonnes in
2005. Six countries accounted for 95% of fruit and vegetable imports
- Because growth in import volumes from African nations has exceeded growth
in overall purchases of fruit and vegetables, Africa’s share of the market has
risen. Africa’s share of fruit and vegetables imports has also grown, from
11.5% in 1997 to around 14% in 2005.
And it is increasing. 14% of our fruit and vegetables are grown in Africa and transported here, mostly by boat, but some by plane. Unbelievably, we imported over 20,000 tonnes of cut flowers from Africa. Flowers for goodness sake!
DEFRA of course, in thrall to its political masters thinks all of this is wonderful and is to say the least apathetic about this enormous waste of resources.
So that is it then. It has taken a little smouldering pile of magma to bring us to a standstill and create shortages. In this case, shortages of stuff we do not need. I wonder, what would it take, what kind of global disaster was needed, in order for us to become dependent upon what we could grow ourselves? Well, we were doing it 70 years ago, and it was not easy. But it can be done. If you want to see how people manage it, I suggest you take a look at Ruth's site: http://diaryofamadgardener.blogspot.com/ She may be mad, but she isn't stupid.