Food, water and society: how our political economy is not proving to be clever with food-water
Tony Allan & Brendan Bromwich
King’s College London Food-Water Group
Wednesday 15 February 2017
4:30pm, Pyramid Room, Strand Campus
The purpose of the session is to highlight the role of those who produce food – farmers – in the sustainable allocation and management of food-water. Food-water is the water consumed in the production of food, fibre and bio-energy. Non-food water accounts for c8% of the overall water footprint of society in providing domestic and industrial water services. Farmers also play a major role in managing of biodiversity and a significant role in generating emissions. They manage about 90% of the water foot print of our economies, provide a major proportion of all biodiversity management and account for at least 25% of emissions. The session will provide evidence that the impact of farming is determined by food supply chain practices and policies that water scientists and professionals should take into account if they are to understand how sustainable water policies and practices can be installed. The session will first, highlight some of the essential water metrics that are as yet poorly communicated by water scientists. Secondly, it will highlight the problem of the absence of integration of 1.water, 2. environmental and 3. market accounting practices. Thirdly it will show that there are three food supply chain market modes with very deeply established path dependence. Two of them are market failures. Finally the significance of the asymmetric power relations in the globalised food system which delivers affordable (cheap) food will be highlighted. The long-term decline in food prices will be shown to make it difficult to operate a sustainable global food-water system.