Gleanings - AF Weekly news summary
22nd November 2023

Here’s what caught our eyes and ears in the agri news from UK and further afield in the last week.

Farmers facing terrible typhoon torment in Taiwan

The interior of Taiwan is made up of thousands of mountain peaks reaching above 3000 metres. The local economies are predominantly based on agriculture, growing tea, coffee and vegetables. Nantou County is a small landlocked region and is the ancestral homeland of the Seediq people, one of 16 recognised aboriginal tribes. Indigenous customs are tightly linked to seasonal harvests.

The Guardian reported recent years have seen an increase in typhoons, caused by increasing temperatures. A 2016 study published in Nature found the proportion of storms of categories 4 and 5 hitting east and south-east Asia had doubled or even tripled in the preceding four decades.

Typhoons have led to massive flooding, and landslides in the mountainous regions. The landslips have devastated cultivatable land and in 2023 there have been no harvest festivities because there have been no crops.

Local leaders are asking for Government support to improve infrastructure, but for the time being are relying on international relief to help feed communities and clear up after the latest round of typhoons and landslides.

What the actual! Weetabixshire

In what must surely be the worst timed April Fool ever, FarmingUK reported on Monday that the makers of Weetabix are campaigning for the UK’s newest county – Weetabixshire. The hopefully tongue in cheek campaign is designed to recognise the companies 150 farmer suppliers!

It is proposed that Weetabixshire will stretch in a 50-mile radius from the Weetabix mills in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, which is the catchment area for wheat supply.

In a sign of admirable commitment ‘Welcome to Weetabixshire’ signs have been put up in Burton Latimer, St Neots and Rutland.

Jim Beaty, a Weetabix supplier said “Seeing all these people come down to the local area in support of Weetabixshire fills me with such pride. It shows how much the community values us for the jobs we do on a daily basis, and I can’t express my gratitude enough towards them.”


Government alters energy reduction targets for some farmers

UK government has lowered energy efficiency targets for farmers after successful lobbying by the NFU.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) had tabled a 40.9% energy efficiency improvement for horticulture and a 12% target for poultry. This was an attempt to rein in the ‘excesses’ of the two most energy intensive sectors in agriculture.

The government has now reduced those targets to 13% for horticulture and 10% for poultry, although experts have warned this measure will cost growers more in the long run as they will have to pay high energy prices.


And tweet of the week…

This farmer channelling his inner DJ Ötzi: