All nations depend on outside countries to fill in crucial links in their supply chains. This fact is at the core of modern-day globalisation. However, when crises such as war and natural disaster strike, there is a sober realisation that a level of national self-sufficiency is wise. Food, especially, is a key driver of national security.
For all the election gimmicking and pontificating, this writer needs to hear about the most important matter of all concerning these Virgin Islands from the next generation of leaders. When will the territory achieve full food sufficiency? What is the timeline?
External supplies from the United Kingdom and United States kept bread on the table and a roof over the head after hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Had there been no external intervention, these islands may not be back to normal today. Why? Because we did not have the self-sufficiency to fix the supply chain on which we all depend.
Further afield, the west — especially the United States and United Kingdom — are aware of their dependency on adversarial nations for the existence of their own economies, markets and social existence. This dependency is critical but dangerous.
A driver of western inflation has been the disruption in the supply chain since the start of the Ukraine war in February 2022. Ukraine’s grain is critical to the food supply of many countries. Most can recall the steep rise in petrol prices the war heralded.
However, food is a central driver of inflation for a small territory such as the VI. A food sufficient VI will spur higher employment, new businesses, and greater national security. Food sufficiency will further drive greater health and well-being for residents.
Then there is opportunity cost. Every cent spent on local produce is cash invested directly in farming and employment. A great percentage of what we all spend is on food and drink. When we produce these for ourselves, we create greater internal economies of scale. The more we produce, the less the cost of production, which is passed on to the consumer.
Organic food and food that avoids a high degree of processing is attractive to consumers for obvious health reasons. At restaurants which cater to the VI travel industry, organic food is an additional draw.
At the polls
Consequently, factor in food sufficiency when you go to the polling booth on April 24. Which politician possesses a vision and is dedicated to achieving this most important of policies in the coming months? That politician should receive your X.