In Great Britain, a number of wishes will remain unfulfilled at Christmas. The reason for this is the recently increasing supply bottlenecks. In addition to deficits in gasoline and truck drivers, food shortages are now causing many empty refrigerators in British households.
In addition to the completed Brexit and the corona pandemic, the historical dependence of the British on the world market is also one of the reasons. “Corona and Brexit have shown that self-sufficiency is not given, but has to be worked hard for. In Great Britain, the model student of globalization and free trade, this is now clearly shown to us, ”said EU MEP Alexander Bernhuber and Lower Austria Farmers Association Director Paul Nemecek.
One week before Christmas, the last shopping for Christmas Eve and the following public holidays is due in Austria. The Austrians are wondering whether their own country will also be plagued by delivery bottlenecks after the corona lockdown. However, the Lower Austrian Farmers’ Association gives the all-clear for the festival.
“It cannot be taken for granted that our Christmas table is well set. Our farmers ensure that the local population is supplied with the best quality food 365 days a year and guarantee culinary specialties during the festive season, ”emphasized Nemecek. The director of the farmers’ union calls for more respect for farmers: “Let’s work together to ensure that what our farmers create the healthy and sustainable basis for every day is also valued accordingly.”
Bernhuber draws a Europe-wide comparison: “As current data from Eurostat show, Austria is one of the leaders when it comes to food security. In contrast to Great Britain, where British pork or beef is only available until November and the rest has to be covered by imports. “
Milk, butter and cheese are only 84, 36 and 24 percent covered by the British, as a former trading power, from their own farm production. This development is now causing empty shelves in Great Britain and deep worry lines in the population.
For comparison: the self-sufficiency rate for beef and pork in Austria is 115 and 130 percent, respectively. There is also enough milk (103 percent), butter (100 percent), cheese (93 percent) and potatoes (99 percent).
Take Lower Austria as an example: 38,000 farms, a quarter of all farms in Austria, are located in the agricultural state no. 1. Lower Austria’s farmers thus ensure security of supply across the country. The Lower Austrian dairy farmers produce 640 million liters of milk. That corresponds to 100 percent of the annual consumption of all Austrians. Lower Austria is also at the forefront when it comes to growing potatoes. The cultivation area of 20,000 hectares corresponds to 82 percent in Austria.
However, self-sufficiency is not stipulated in Austria either. “In particular, European developments such as the MERCOSUR free trade agreement, which is intended to open the door for South American beef to Europe, or the Green Deal, which provides for significant restrictions on agriculture, can lead to significant losses in security of supply. Our political path is clear – instead of free trade at any price, we need security and stability for the population, ”says Bernhuber about the existential dangers for the 38,000 farms in Austria.
“The current European challenges related to Corona and security of supply show that self-sufficiency needs a higher priority in order to ensure the supply of the population even in times of crisis. Our answer to this is simple and, in view of delivery bottlenecks, the logical consequence – better from the farmers’ market than from the world market. This is the only way to ensure regional supply and, at the same time, save unnecessary transport routes in the interests of the environment, ”conclude Bernhuber and Nemecek.