Global think tank, Chatham House, warns that policymakers must take action immediately to mitigate the risk of severe disruption at certain ports, maritime straits, and inland transport routes, which could have devastating knock-on effects for global food security.
Source: Chokepoints and Vulnerabilities in Global Food Trade | Chatham House
One of the most important recommendations is to incorporate ‘choke-point analysis’ into mainstream risk analysis. Whilst this is a good recommendation, I worry that many governments are fire-fighting, ignoring strategy and risk analysis. A good example is Theresa May’s current ‘weak and wobbly’ UK government, which is fire-fighting on a daily basis – see related blog.
Let’s stay with the UK, as an example. Clearly, austerity measures have been ineffective, reducing the effectiveness of public services and value for money. This blog has repeatedly argued in favor of a strategic approach, based on radical reform – but the political masters have not had the stomach for the truth.
Because of UK history and recent cuts to the UK’s military capability, strategists will be particularly alarmed at the UK’s risk profile, both in imports via Dover and Felixstowe.
Here’s an open question:
What steps should the UK take to reduce risk of food shortage from choke-point events? Does this responsibility fall on DEFRA, and if so, what are the terms of reference?