The Soil Association should focus the spotlight on UK organic growers before it starts to point the finger at the developing world, says Jo Crawshaw, consultant for africapractice Some environmentalists have accused the Soil Association of backing down in its airfreight consultation by not imposing an outright ban. However, many of us argued more red tape and stricter standards for farmers in the developing world would be exceptionally costly for communities that had already fought hard to build their agricultural export business, and should be spending their hard-earned money on more worthy causes. Lord Melchett, the Soil Association's policy director, said air freight wouldn't be possible in the future because it would be too expensive, and urged growers to prepare themselves for that. This paternalistic attitude is unreasonable, not least because most fresh produce, at least from Kenya, is transported as cargo on passenger planes, so you would have to ban tourism before you stopped eating Kenyan beans with your Sunday roast. Kenya is also leading the way in the east African community by trading more locally. Part of the income earned from airfreighting perishable goods to the UK is invested in building local markets, so trade with the UK is an important part of Kenya's development. Perhaps Lord Melchett and the Soil Association should look at the UK's carbon footprint before imposing virtual sanctions on other markets. If airfreighting goods is going to become too costly because of the price of oil, the UK should look at the bigger picture and how much energy is used in its own farming processes. Kenya's environmentally friendly farming practices such as using geothermal energy, pioneering solar power projects and recycling water should stand as an example for heavily mechanised European farming methods. Research shows that airfreighting is often more energy-efficient than growing produce in hothouses in Europe or refrigerating produce for long journeys by ship. Considering carbon emissions caused by airfreighting fresh produce from sub-Saharan Africa accounts for about 0.1% of UK emissions, those attached to airfreighting organic fresh produce are minimal and counterbalanced by natural green African farming. The Soil Association must focus on transportation and farming practices in the UK. British farmers have access to, among other things, subsidised diesel fuel for machinery and 65% of emissions relating to food are caused by transportation in Britain. The Soil Association needs to stop burdening developing countries with our carbon wrong doings and look closer to home.