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Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Leave it to the market

This blog has drawn attention previously to the prospect of rising global food prices. After a period of some 30 years when global food production has risen faster than population, all the signs are in place for a reversal. A whole generation has grown up never having seen widespread famine in Africa, or understanding how US and Canadian grain sales to hungry Russians helped end the Cold War.

The government, of course, understand none of this, and have spent huge amounts of tax money funding something called WRAP that aims to reduce the amount of food waste going to landfill. Being a government funded agency, it has of course been mendacious in its claims. It claims that 30% of the food we buy gets thrown away. To a point, Lord Copper. Half of that is material that is inedible; orange and banana peel, bones and the like. But we do throw away something like 15% of the food we buy.

With news this morning that food inflation is currently running at 12%, I think we can safely hand out the redundancy notices at WRAP and cancel their ad space bookings. No amount of government hectoring will ever work as effectively in reducing food waste as an increase in food costs.

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