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COVID-19 intensifies our vulnerability towards dependency on food imports

A recent study by Aalto University has discovered that less than one-third of the world's population could currently meet their demand for food produced in their local vicinity.

Essentially, the desire for locally produced food is a distant dream for many individuals across the world.

Living on a planet dominated by the processes of globalisation and impressive technological and scientific advancements, food production and consumption has revolutionised in recent decades.

Our diets have diversified beyond the realms of the locally produced, seasonal produce we were once limited to. Moreover, food availability has physically increased in various parts of the globe due to factors such as cultivation becoming more efficient.

Image credit: Saga

While many of us have satisfied appetites the majority of the time, these processes and changes have led to a situation where much of the world population live in countries that are dependent on, at least partially, imported food.

This level of dependency can intensify vulnerabilities during any kind of global crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, as global food supply chains are disrupted.

Looking at things from a UK perspective, a whopping 80 per cent of food is imported, including basics such as carrots and tea.

Whilst 80 per cent of the UK's meat and cheese is produced on home ground, half of the fruits and vegetables we consume are also imported.

Ultimately, the UK is not self-sufficient in food production. As a 'food-trading nation', the UK relies on both imports and a thriving agricultural sector to feed itself and drive economic growth - both of which continue to be disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic emphasises the importance of self-sufficiency and local food production and highlights the need to focus more greatly on how we can achieve increased national food security through decreased reliance on food imports.


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