I am glad to see, as I drive around Thanet, that a farmer between Birchington and Manston has a lot of land growing maize at the moment. It might come as a surprise to the urban Thanetonians and I include TDC in this description, that we have real food and feed crops growing in Thanet and not just land waiting to be built on by developers. As I write, potato, wheat, barley , oil-seed rape and maize is thriving in the June sunshine. It is not the case elsewhere.
The picture above illustrates the problems of the US maize (corn), soya bean and rice crops this year. Flooding that has swept through the main mid-west 'corn' and wheat belts of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri followed a wet spring and late planting season. Not only will yields be down but it is estimated that upto 5 million acres of crops have been destroyed and that it is too late to re-plant this season. What's this got to do with us, you might ask; my answer is the same as that wonderful line from 'Cabaret' about money 'HUNGER!'
I will probably be accused by some as a scare-monger but when the US wheat supplies are currently lower than at anytime since 1948 and countries have been restricting food exports to prevent food riots and basic food prices are escalating sky-wards, we need to wake up and fast to the fact that home production and our farming industry producing food on good agricultural land will be needed to feed us in the years ahead. An interesting snippet is that Japan literally ran out of butter in April!
Just to add to the problem of world food supplies, in December 2007, Bush signed The US Energy and Independence Security Act. What this means is that the US has to produce 36billion gallons of bio-fuels from crops to run cars rather than food crops to run people. In simple terms a tankfull of diesel requires the same 'food' that would keep a person alive for 270 days! Brown has instituted the same bio-fuel nonsense here!
I wonder if CGP is looking at world-food prices (maize doubled from $3 to $7). Will Gateway be scrapped as they go into the farming business, having bought up swathes of agricultural land last year and now constructing a new agricultural barn for the storage of grain at Manston Business Park? (see F/TH/07/0126).