THE FARMING SECTOR HAS AN ACE THAT IT DOESN’T EVEN NEED TO KEEP UP ITS SLEEVE BUT IT NEEDS TO PLAY IT WELL
The change in people’s eating habits is happening before our eyes. The Waitrose report finds that, of the people it surveyed, 60pc of vegans and around 40pc of vegetarians made the change in the last five years.
Of these, 55pc attributed their dietary choice to animal welfare concerns, 45pc did so because of health concerns and 38pc did so because of climate change or other environmental issues. As the environmental debate heats up, we can expect this latter cohort to increase.
What is to be done? To be facetious about it, one could say the one sure-fire way to reverse climate change would be for all human activity to stop, from love-making to oil consumption — from burning love to burning oil.
But life must go on and the world needs food more than it needs oil or coal or cars or planes. So the farming sector has an ace that it doesn’t even need to keep up its sleeve. However, it needs to play it well.
Rather than fulminate and bluster, it needs to begin to adapt and put itself on the front foot in relation to responding to the changes that are inevitable.
Make no mistake, when the real pressure comes on in relation to climate change, farming will be treated as the soft underbelly and the easy target. It doesn’t have the collective clout of the traditional energy industries, the automotive industry or the air industry.
However, there will be a crying need for land for alternative energy sources, and farmers can provide that.
Above all, people will always need to eat. The only ones that can feed them are farmers and wouldn’t they be very foolish not to be ready and willing to give people what they want?