Organic Carrots

I have long been a vociferous supporter of organic farming. But even if that sector had been given adequate government backing, which it has not, we could not hope to achieve a smooth transition to full organic or kindred regenerative production overnight.

Witness what happened last year in Sri Lanka, when president Gotabaya Rajapaksa banned the use of all chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Food yields plummeted, plunging swathes of the population into hardship. Grocery queues triggered fights in the streets. The president had to flee his country.

Net zero, even if that is a realistic or necessary target, simply can’t be imposed from the top down to meet the 2050 goal envisaged. That’s underlined by the pushback we’re seeing against crazy climate targets.

Irish farmers are the latest to mutiny, having been told by their government to slash the national dairy herd by 10%, which means culling 65,000 cows a year for three years. They have formed a ‘farmers alliance’ to contest Ireland’s local elections in 2024. They take inspiration from the farmer-led BBB party in The Netherlands, which from a base of nothing won a majority of seats in the country’s upper house in provincial elections in March.

Of course, older Dutch people can still remember the ‘Hongerwinter’ of 1944 to 1945, when famine stalked Holland. So you can understand Dutch reluctance to dismantle the farms that feed them, even though this risky strategy is presented as an ecological necessity.

Think of Stalin’s agricultural supremo, Trofim Lysenko. He rejected the established genetics of the time for his revolutionary approach, a bit like those who want to disrupt our current food production and start anew from a supposedly greener landscape of fake food from mega-factories. When Lysenko oversaw the USSR’s farms, it led to the Holodomor, or ‘hunger plague’. As many as ten million people died of starvation.

A government’s first task is to put food on the plates of its citizens. Any policy that spells ruin for farmers and destabilises our food production infrastructure to meet an ideological objective, based on debatable scientific data, imperils our food security and raises the spectre of starvation.


Have your say

The Grocer wants to hear from you about this article and the topics raised in it. If you would like to submit your opinion to be considered for publication in our letters section, get in touch at