Agriculture and Food Security
It is said that a third of the world`s population go to bed hungry. With the global population now 6 billion, it is estimated it will be 9 billion in twenty years. If we donít act on pollution and the environment, the population could quickly go down to five billion with mass famine and disease.
Whilst supermarkets promote cheap food, this is short-term gain, Since Eastern Europe has joined the E.U. we find, with cheap labour and unused land in the East, the West will be getting even cheaper food. British farms will be unable to continue in food production, the countryside will become bramble and rabbits. When wages and values rise in Eastern Europe, food in Western Europe will become expensive, and the people will say; why donít we grow food here? Sadly there wonít be anyone left to grow food, unless we take a long-term view now.
One solution is to create small farms that one can enjoy and create employment. Instead of paying set-aside or countryside stewardship. The money could be used to help create new local produce i.e. cheese, a smokery, cutting room for meat, bakery, local pies etc. Local milk dairy and egg suppliers, free range poultry for egg and meats, fruit storage, freezers for storage, and energy crops should be grown.
It would be better for 10 farmers to have 40 cows each, rather than to have one farmer with a few hundred; Animals would have better care and attention.
Farmers who have no charge on their land are paying high rents for short term lettings so the price is spread over the whole. If they were paying a yearly charge they may not be so keen. The young farmer canít bid on fair ground. In order to encourage more family farms we should introduce a land tax for those who farm a large acreage. The following table suggests a guideline as to rental value; English rates:-
Grade One - £50 per acre
Grade Two - £40 per acre
Grade Three - £30 per acre
Grade Four - £20 per acre
Therefore if one inherited a farm one would only pay tax equivalent of rental value and this could be paid annually into the National Fund. For example, if one inherited Grade Three land the following table would apply:-1-100 acres - no tax
101-200 acres - 50% of rental value i.e. 200 acres = £3,000 p.a.
201-300 acres - 50% of rental value i.e. 300 acres = £4,500 p.a.
over 300 acres - 100% of rental value
Where land is let, no tax should be payable.
The above rules would help some of the African nations sort out the land problems where white farmers could own, but let some land to local people while still owning and farming some themselves.
If Africa was to establish boundaries similar to the European module, in order to concentrate on making their local land more fertile, then Africa could feed itself.
Money the UK spends on the EU could be used to help young people into farming, by means of giving them financial help.
In order to keep a policy for food security, we need to make producing food a paying enterprise. We would not then need to consider GM crops. Council owned farms should be transferred to a farming company to stop councils being able to sell them off.
There needs to be a minimum price at which producers are paid. Items like milk, could be guaranteed up to a certain number of cows on a holding, thus stopping multi-cow units; we should Create animal welfare, not animal factories.
There are too many speculators in forward buying of food, and land investors. A new concept is needed for land use.
We are spending £24 billion a year on housing benefits, £34 billion on helping first time buyers to get on the housing ladder, all this could be stopped, and we pay £34 million a day net, into the European Union, this money would be better spent at home.