Caroline Lucas tells us that we’ve really got to stop using pesticides in order to preserve wildlife. This is, of course, nonsense. Organic farming - that no pesticide type - requires more land for the same food output. It’s pesticides that enable us to feed everyone while still having land left for wildlife to live upon.
But, of course, it gets worse:
The UK already has the third-cheapest food among developed countries, yet it also has the highest food insecurity in Europe, too, because political decisions have led to poverty wages and grotesque wealth inequality.
The two can’t actually be true together. The UK minimum wage is €1,500 a month or so. That in Romania is €450, Slovakia €520, Bulgaria €290. No, it’s not true that food insecurity is going to be greater where wages are three to seven times higher. Of course, the definition of “developed” there is a little different from that “in Europe” one but still:
Britons spend an average of 8% of their total household expenditure on food to eat at home. This is less than any other country apart from the US and Singapore, according to data from market research firm Euromonitor.
Food spending varies considerably around the world. Greeks spend 16%, while Peruvians spend 26%. Nigerians spend the most on food in relative terms - 59% of their household budget.
Greece is indeed a developed country by this definition - it’s in the OECD. And Greeks are spending twice the amount of lower incomes on food. Food insecurity is not higher in the UK, really, it’s just not.
The bit that the comparison is missing is that we’re measuring food prices by percentages of income to begin with….