The cost of bio food production

‘For the foreseeable future, organic food production can make vegetables so expensive that many of the poorer people in society won’t be able to afford them. Their diet and health will suffer.’

Which society are we talking about here – the situation in Europe is very different from Africa. The health of Africans is already suffering today and not through lack of chemicals, but lack of management.

Problems in Africa

In many African states, it would be better to invest in water than in weapons. In Europe, we want high production volumes to feed the poor but also the choice to feed the whims of the wealthy. Choice comes often from high energy imports, not local farming that creates employment. And the higher volume isn’t necessarily nutritious.

We could lower production and improve quality. Instead of producing many varieties of low meat high-fat content sausages, we could favour a limited quantity of high quality lean nutritious ones.

Bio food appears to be more expensive. But privilege quality and not quantity and you may find that for the same cost, you need less food. Higher quality food is more nutritious and has more energy. Everyone has the freedom to choose. But we could consume and produce less and exit from this life in the fast lane.

Effective communication can increase volumes and therefore lower unit costs of bio food. But in competition with the modern food distribution system, bio food may not be economical even without the cost of wrapping and presentation.

The question isn’t just economic, but what is better? Modern industry favours economies of scale rather than producing just what we need. Bio methods aim to produce just enough rather than looking for high volume low cost.

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