Farming for City Folks PleasureFriday, Mar 23, 2001
Europe is in the throws of deciding if its farmer’s should be totally organic and in Britain commentators
are suggesting that the countryside should be nothing more than a pleasant environment
for city folk to visit on fine days.
Does this mean that urban people have become so decoupled from the real world that they believe that
all food originates at the supermarket?
Who is going to feed the world if, as seems likely, the susbsidised European farmers abandon their past
role and set off down the low production path now being prescribed?
Where is the food to take up the slack going to come from? Sure NZ agriculturists can claim, NZ of course,
but reality says there is a finite limit to profitable farm production in New Zealand at sustainable
levels of inputs. If we aren’t careful we will fall into the same disaster that may
be claiming European Agriculture now.
Even now that typical winter sight of large groups dairy cow block grazing their way across their rationed
pasture through wind and rain is receiving attention form the animal welfare activists.
There are many more imperfections in our pastoral farming systems that could be focused on by critics
and if considered unacceptable, would become a limitation to NZ pastoral farm production.
This is could be an interesting dilemma for New Zealand farmers who have been well conditioned by the
need for more production for their own economic survival.
How would you respond to a demand for more farm production at a higher price?