There has been considerable debate lately about what some call food sovereignty. The priority consumption of the local product, conditioned on the evaluation of the environmental impact and the ethical justification to provide a supply of fresh products throughout the year, mainly in northern European countries.
By Francisco Sánchez, manager of Onubafruit
It is true that the consumer looks for environmentally sustainable supply chains that maintain the variety in the supply of fresh food throughout the year and that in current consumption habits it is normal to want to know the ingredients of the products we buy. The raw material or the origin of the food is presented in many cases as a guarantee of quality.
But what is sold to us as quality and good work may not be the correct guides.
Local products don´t have to be more sustainable than those that come from further afield. To give some information, there are studies that reveal that, with regard to transport, the incidence is just over 1% in fruit and vegetable products, for example.
Wanting to impose the consumption of exclusively local product is a risk. Moreover, when Spain is an eminently exporting country and with this we open the door for other countries to do the same. It would be necessary to have a very effective plan to solve the millions of jobs in the entire value chain that would be lost along the way.
Furthermore, these types of guidelines do nothing more than encourage feelings of aversion and conflict between communities.
Taking our anthropocentric vision of the world to the extreme is a danger. It seems that we only look at what is convenient for us, it is as if we only open the refrigerator when, in addition to food, we import many other things, from technology to people.
If there isn´t a good product and you can only buy locally, you are forcing people to consume what they do not like and not have what they want.
The solution to being more sustainable does not go through putting up barriers.
It is necessary to encourage good local produce – which is already consumed as a priority, by affinity, affection and common sense – and create structures to have an excellent product, whether it is consumed in proximity or not.
Concern for the environment should not slow down economic and social progress. It should incentivize clean progress. If we know how to use technological advances and master knowledge wisely, the results cannot be anything other than good. Closing a door, putting up a fence or raising a wall is a relatively easy measure. Unifying criteria and people in need of a conceptual change that establishes the new socio-economic and cultural coordinates is something a little more complicated.
Is it a great challenge to want to be prosperous, for the communities in which we carry out our activity to be prosperous and for the countries to which we deliver our products to be prosperous as well without losing sight of everyone’s future?
More than a challenge, it is an integral need that doesn’t require impediments.