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Ukraine crisis has exposed the danger of ‘intensification mantra’, says OF&G

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As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ignites a fierce debate about food security across Europe, agri-industry lobbyists have wasted little time in demanding a reversal of sustainable farming initiatives.

Now, UK-based organic certifier OF&G is warning policy makers in Britain against giving credence to “debunked” arguments about the need to intensify food production. 

In a statement, OF&G’s CEO Roger Kerr said: “At this terrible time, some of the polarised arguments circulating in response to the issues exacerbated by the current conflict, are pitting farmers’ responsibility for feeding people against saving the planet. In this situation it is vital that we do not lose sight of significant environmental challenges we face.”

Describing the the UK as “one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries”, Kerr says the “business as usual mindset” of consecutive UK Governments has seen Britain “continue to protect historic investments in fossil fuel and the products derived from them”. 

“The continued mantra around intensification is not only detrimental, but dangerous, to the rigorous debate needed around the issues of resilience, productivity, and food security”

Roger Kerr, CEO, OF&G

Kerr continued: “The continued mantra around intensification is not only detrimental, but dangerous, to the rigorous debate needed around the issues of resilience, productivity, food security and their associated environmental and economic impacts.

“The UK’s reliance on imported feed, fuel and other inputs are being magnified through the lens of Putin’s war but these issues within our food supply chain are not new. We need systems that rely on less intensive use of increasingly scarce inputs in large part derived from fossil fuel resources. It’s an argument highlighted in OF&G’s organic manifesto which presents a strong case for integrating changes into our domestic production and supply chains.

“We are at a tipping point. Promoting continued intensification will undoubtedly create an even greater long-term threat to UK food security, as our overall agricultural capacity will be undermined and irretrievably diminished.”

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