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Bosses prefer to feed bins than hungry human bellies

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Almost half the food produced in the world every year never makes it onto a plate, according to a new report.
Issue 2336
Bosses prefer to feed bins than hungry human bellies

Almost half the food produced in the world every year never makes it onto a plate, according to a new report.

That’s about two billion tonnes of food. Over half a trillion cubic metres of water is wasted every year to produce it. That’s the equivalent of pissing away the whole Mississippi River and then some.

And almost a sixth of the world’s land surface goes into farming it.

The report was carried out by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. They point to a number of causes.

For example, farmers in many developing countries don’t have the resources to get all their food to market.

The poorer the country, the worse it is—in Vietnam a whopping 80 percent of the rice crop is lost.

That’s 30 million tonnes of rice—enough to fill the massive Derwent Reservoir in the north east of England.

The report calls for more investment in these countries.

But large corporations forcing out small farmers to cater for a global food market only adds to the chaos.

And the authors save much of their ire for supermarket chains in Britain, whose competition for profit leads to obscene waste.

Whole crops are condemned for purely cosmetic reasons. So more than

45 percent of Britain’s potato crop is wasted before it even reaches the shop—enough to fill 8,000 Olympic sized swimming pools every year.

Tying discounts into buy one get one free promotions makes it harder for people to buy an appropriate amount.

That’s especially true now wage and benefit cuts have made the weekly shop a thing of dread for millions.

The report argues against the doom-mongers of population growth, who say that there will soon be too many people to feed.

The world’s population is projected to peak at around 9 billion, or at most double to 14 billion.

If there’s not enough food, it’s because the madness of capitalism throws so much into the bin.

Bear that in mind the next time someone tells you it’s the most efficient way to run the economy.

Middletons resist bullshit

The Middletons’ new in-laws probably force them to put up with a lot of hot air and bullshit.

But Duchess Kate’s parents were told they had to stay inside their £5 million house last week—to escape the burning manure fumes wafting through their village.

A 1,000-tonne heap of fertiliser the size of a football field had caught fire.

Tories gleefully plot second term terrors

Leading Tory MPs and thinktanks have been floating ideas for their 2015 manifesto.

First up is Bright Blue, a thinktank seen as close to David Cameron.

It has argued for running public services, especially schools, for profit.

But it promises that it’s not privatisation—because the money would still be stumped up by the state.

Tories take on pensioners

David Cameron had pledged that pensioners would be protected from the current round of benefit cuts.

But don’t worry.

The coalition is all about fairness. So top Tories and Lib Dems are now dropping hints at getting rid of universal benefits for pensioners too.

Iain Duncan Smith called them an “anomaly” that should be “a matter of debate”.

Nick Clegg said that they are “difficult to explain”.

And the supposedly moderate Ken Clarke said the decision not to go for pensioners was “rushed into” and would be an “agenda item” next time round.

Don’t hold back, urges Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg is worried that nobody likes him.

So he’s trying to “keep in touch with how people are thinking and feeling” with a new “Call Clegg” radio phone in.

Callers to the first episode included a former Lib Dem councillor who had torn up his party membership card. Then came a student angry about Clegg’s backstabbing support for higher tuition fees.

Some Lib Dem activists called it “a bit desperate,” but Clegg says “I don’t think politicians get to hear enough from people directly”.

He should be careful what he wishes for.

Meanwhile Tory strategists are drawing up a list of priority seats to avoid losing the next election.

Of their 40 targets, ten are Lib Dem MPs in southwest England.

Losing these would nearly finish the Lib Dems off.

Tesco? Independent?

The seemingly independent new cafe chain Harris and Hoole calls itself “a new generation of coffee shops bringing an artisan approach”.

Sounds lovely, if you live in one of the middle class areas the company is targeting. One thing the marketing doesn’t tell you is that it is owned by retail giant Tesco.

No peace from cops for Stuart Lawrence

After refusing to properly investigate his brother Stephen’s murder for almost two decades, you might have thought the police had done enough to Stuart Lawrence.

But he has now launched a complaint after being pulled over in his car 25 times “for no apparent reason and without any justification”.

Stuart says one officer said they were “naturally suspicious” of him.

He added, “I am being targeted because of the colour of my skin.”

Stuart was never charged. His complaint has been referred to the toothless IPCC watchdog.

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