Mhambi has been redeployed.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Buying fruit locally makes for an unfair world

Transporting (yes even flying) food to Europe from Africa is not bad for environment. Mhambi was at a talk organised by the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) at the RSA in London about how Western consumers could help African cotton farmers.

In reaction to the persistent argument from organic campaigners to buy food locally their was a emphatic retort. Dr. Camilla Toulmin, Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (iied) said that transporting fruit, vegetables and other agricultural products from African countries to the UK, including by air, contributes less than 0.1% of the current carbon footprint of the UK. This is even true of perishable products like fruit, and even more so for products like cotton, which can be shipped by sea which emits even less carbon than air cargo.

Considering the fact that more than 1 million of the world's poorest farmers depend on this trade, the point was made very forcefully that by targeting this 0.1% carbon footprint, organic and environmental campaigners were completely misdirecting their activism with very unfair results for developing societies.

Buying locally produced food is often used by organic, environmental and the European subsidy lobby, to argue against the lifting of subsidies to European farmers.

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