Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Food and the Markets 

Great to see the write-up in the Guardian of David Mwanaka’s unique farm. I must try White Maze sometimes. His inspiring story does also illuminate the debate going on about supermarkets good or not so good (and what this means for food supplies) in various blogs – Stephen Tall and Richard Huzzey to the fore.

For my part I think it is clear we have a market malfunction, and need to correct it, especially if we want more peopel like David Mwanaka to get some entrepreneurial success.

What actions to take? Well an example. The Women’s Institute is campaigning for a more rigorous competition policy for supermarkets so we politicians may find ourselves engaged on this issue from unexpected quarters. The NFWI says that it is

…not convinced that price cuts in the big supermarkets are in the best interest of consumers in the long run. Destroying farming in this country will not serve consumers long term interests, neither will pushing small independent stores out of business, often the life blood of local communities.
Other campaigns on this theme are run by

Breaking The Armlock, which campaigns against what it calls the ‘passing on of
unreasonable costs and demand’ to farmers in the UK and overseas.

More polemically TESCOPOLY takes aim specifically at the world of TESCO.

FARM, which bills itself as the Independent voice of farmers in Britain, also covers some wider issues.

National Association of Farmers Markets will help you find your local alternative outlet. If you are in Wolverton Farmers Market (in Milton Keynes) this Saturday morning (1st July) you might run into me puffing round the stalls at that fortnightly event, which isn’t listed by NAFM.

I think we LibDems really need to take a serious look at Market Reform in the food industry, especially if we are serious about 'free markets' and also about 'a new localism'..

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