Insecure, insufficient and adulterated food supplies are set to become one of the major problems of the 21st century, causing societal upheaval and discontent. In Egypt and Syria, they were central elements which helped to foment revolution. In Tahrir Square, masses of anti-government protesters chanted, “Bread, Freedom, Dignity.”
But bread was first.
As NZ is a party to the TPP, our ability to restrain the use of GMOs, pesticides and other non-organic approaches to food production and ingredient sourcing is likely to become very limited. This is a shame as NZ produce has always been valued for its “clean, green” image (if not always the substance), at a time when the increasingly wealthy middle classes in rapidly growing countries like India and China become more health conscious.
By signing up to and keeping NZ in the TPP, both Labour and National are crippling the potential NZ has in this field.
Russia, still reeling from food and other sanctions placed on it by Western countries last year is using the opportunity not just to become self-sufficient in food production but to undertake a strategic journey to become a world leader in ‘ecologically clean’ organic food production.
Russia could become the world’s largest supplier of ecologically clean and high-quality organic food, said President Vladimir Putin on Thursday. He also called on the country to become completely self-sufficient in food production by 2020.
“We are not only able to feed ourselves taking into account our lands, water resources – Russia is able to become the largest world supplier of healthy, ecologically clean and high-quality food which the Western producers have long lost, especially given the fact that demand for such products in the world market is steadily growing,” said Putin, addressing the Russian Parliament on Thursday.
In contrast, with politicians and civil servants seemingly under the sway of trans-national corporate interests, NZ seems to be willingly surrendering this high-value, highly differentiated market to other players who have seen its possibilities.
According to Reuters/CNBC, official government pressure in Russia has seen the share of GMO foods in Russia decline from approx 12% a decade ago to virtually none today.