Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Food debate: Horlicks vs Stocking

Another prime time debate for farming on the Today programme (BBC Radio 4, 31st May) following drought reports last week.

This time a heated debate between Barbara Stocking of Oxfam and investment guru Nicola Horlicks. Oxfam's report 'Growing a Better Future' challenges Governments to bolster their policies to address food price volatility and the need to grow and feed more (they predict 70-90% increase in food demand by 2050). They are also challenging governments to deal with corporates and commodity traders who create some of the food price volatility they say.

Nicola Horlicks had a different notion - she said that external investment and dynamic commodity markets were essential to meet the growing food need challenges - the response won't come from small farmers and cooperatives, but from big business farming.

Where do I sit on this debate? Well probably in sentiment with Oxfam, but the realist in me says that the drive for change will come from those entities that can invest in and profit from their investment. Trade was always, and will ever be, thus.

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