Gleanings - AF Weekly news summary
6th December 2023

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


COP (28) a load of this

For the first time, countries at COP 28 have pledged to integrate food and agriculture into their climate change plans. The COP 28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action is the first resolution at any COP to draw links between climate change and the food we eat.

134 countries, including the UK, signed the pledge which covers 70% of the global population. The pledge is backed by $200 million joint funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UAE to focus on “agricultural research, scaling agricultural innovations, and funding technical assistance to implement the declaration.”


Ukrainian wheat causes Moldovan bottleneck

In a fascinating article, reports that Moldovan farmers are struggling to export their grain and sunflower crops. The problem is the huge bottleneck of trucks at the southern Giurgiulesti border crossing. Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, this has become a chokepoint for food exports in the Black Sea region. Ukrainian trucks often queue for up to a week waiting for a slot to enter Romania, and once there the grain is taken to the port of Constanta where it enters the world market.

This is not only inconvenient for the Ukrainians, but is having a significant impact on Moldova, which is still a primarily agrarian economy, and relies on the export of sunflower seeds and grain. The Moldovan exporters cannot compete with cheap Ukrainian grain and as a result since 2022 the number of countries Moldova exports to has dropped from 25 to 14.

The Moldovan Government is trying different methods to resolve the problem. But so far the Ukrainian trucks keep coming, 1307 crossing at Giurgiulesti in October alone.


Channel four has a beef with beef

On Friday Channel 4 aired their show The Big British Beef Battle. It was fronted by the familiar face of former Paralympic athlete Ade Adepitan, who will be known to many as a staple of daytime and early evening TV. The show has enflamed the passions not only of farmers, (there is a lively debate going on over on X) but also in some unlikely quarters. Lucy Mangan reviewed the programme for The Guardian, and said “this utterly shoddy climate documentary is an insult.”

The problem is that the show was very superficial. Whilst it is hard to argue that agriculture needs to tackle it’s emissions, the programme made no distinction between intensive beef rearing and extensive upland grazing. It basically declared that we all need to stop eating beef now, which is surely the worst kind of ill-considered dog whistle journalism?

It didn’t help that the presenter, whilst manfully defending himself on social media, is not a subject matter expert, and admits to being clueless on the issues before recording the show. He is therefore left to defend the programme single-handedly with the only soundbites he has been spoon fed, whilst the agenda driven Producer and Channel 4 Execs hang him out to dry. It does little credit to our community that in this discourse some have regrettably resorted to ableist and racist comments, which we can all agree have no place whatsoever in agriculture or in society.


Good news for Yorkshire GPS theft victims

We report often here and in AF Weekly on the rise in rural crime, specifically theft, and the importance of good on farm security. And now we can report on the value of good rural policing as  48 stolen GPS units and screens were recovered by Humberside Police, and two thieves were arrested and have recently been jailed.

The perps were sentenced in November at Hull Crown Court and jailed for four and three years respectively – sentences to fit the crime too. 

Police were alerted after officers located a car that had been identified as being involved in multiple high value thefts in September. Farmers Guide reported “Inside the car, a substantial amount of large farming GPS devices were found, several of which had been reported as stolen. They were wrapped in tinfoil to prevent the signal of the devices being detected.”

A great result by the police, and a great result for the farmers who will now be able to reclaim their valuable equipment.


Tweet of the week