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Food Miles: Starving the Poor?

Food Miles: Starving the Poor? Food miles measure the distance food travels to reach consumers’ plates. Although substituting local food for imported produce will not necessarily reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the food miles movement is widely supported by consumers and import‐competing producers, especially in some parts of Western Europe. We investigate the economic implications of food miles preference changes in the UK, France and Germany on other nations using an economy‐wide model. Among the regions we consider, New Zealand is the most distant from Western Europe and Madagascar and Malawi export the most agro‐food products relative to GDP, so food miles movements have the largest impacts on these regions. When there is a linear relationship between distance and preference changes, food miles campaigns decrease welfare in New Zealand, Madagascar and Malawi by 0.30, 0.12 and 0.28 per cent, respectively. When there is a preference shift away from imported food unrelated to distance, proportional welfare losses in the three countries are, respectively, 0.11, 0.08 and 0.24 per cent. With the exception of New Zealand, these findings indicate that some of the world’s poorest nations will suffer the most from European food miles lobbying. We conclude that food miles campaigns will increase global inequality without necessarily improving environmental outcomes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The World Economy Wiley

Food Miles: Starving the Poor?

The World Economy , Volume 33 (10) – Oct 1, 2010

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN
0378-5920
eISSN
1467-9701
DOI
10.1111/j.1467-9701.2010.01270.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Food miles measure the distance food travels to reach consumers’ plates. Although substituting local food for imported produce will not necessarily reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the food miles movement is widely supported by consumers and import‐competing producers, especially in some parts of Western Europe. We investigate the economic implications of food miles preference changes in the UK, France and Germany on other nations using an economy‐wide model. Among the regions we consider, New Zealand is the most distant from Western Europe and Madagascar and Malawi export the most agro‐food products relative to GDP, so food miles movements have the largest impacts on these regions. When there is a linear relationship between distance and preference changes, food miles campaigns decrease welfare in New Zealand, Madagascar and Malawi by 0.30, 0.12 and 0.28 per cent, respectively. When there is a preference shift away from imported food unrelated to distance, proportional welfare losses in the three countries are, respectively, 0.11, 0.08 and 0.24 per cent. With the exception of New Zealand, these findings indicate that some of the world’s poorest nations will suffer the most from European food miles lobbying. We conclude that food miles campaigns will increase global inequality without necessarily improving environmental outcomes.

Journal

The World EconomyWiley

Published: Oct 1, 2010

References