UK Food Production Threatened with Loss of Soil

If the UK government wants to increase food production in the coming 20 to 30 years, it will have to stop soil erosion. Every year, over 2 million tons of topsoil gets eroded from forests and farms due to wind. If this persists in the coming years, government’s efforts to increase food production will be at risk. Due to soil erosion, the risk of floods has increased. This has not only reduced the production of food in many areas but also affected the country’s efforts to bring down the rate of carbon emissions.

With almost 200 years of industrial pollution and intensive farming, the quality of land in UK has degraded steadily. Even though the present situation cannot be regarded as critical as the condition of agricultural land in African and Asian countries, why take the risk? The problem of soil erosion is rising in underdeveloped countries due to poor farming practices, heavy usage of dangerous fertilizers and pesticides and overgrazing. The fact that conventional farming practices are affecting the quality of agricultural land all over the world, the concept of sustainable food is gaining more attention than ever.

In the UK, development of transport infrastructure and housing has also put more pressure on the soil and the current rate of erosion costs 9 million pounds to the farmers annually. Due to climate change, soil is becoming prone to wind erosion due to hot and dry conditions and intense rainfall. The rate at which climate change is creating havoc across the world, countries will be required to produce twice as much food. But with soil erosion also increasing due to change in climate, it will be a challenge for countries make it possible.

Approximately 10bn tons of carbon is present in the British soil and if this carbon is lost in the atmosphere due to soil erosion, it will result in emission equivalent to 50 times more the annual greenhouse gas emission in UK. In order to solve this issue, the government is encouraging farm owners to use organic farming methods and produce seasonal sustainable food.