Food imports and climate crisis

Sir, – Dr John Doherty notes our huge imports of fruits, vegetables and potatoes (Letters, November 4th).

But what he doesn’t record is that we now also import all our sugar and all our flour.

Furthermore, if he surveys the shelves of supermarkets and greengrocers anywhere in this country, he will find onions and cabbages from Spain; cauliflower, broccoli and lentils from Ethiopia and Kenya; carrots from as far away as Argentina; and from the Netherlands, we import mushrooms and cheese to make our pizzas.

And it doesn’t stop there. The timber to hold up the roofs of our houses comes from Latvia and Siberia. The grain to feed our pigs, poultry, and cattle comes from Russia too and from Ukraine.


The carbon footprint of all this trade is immense. It’s impact on climate change is devastating. By any standard, it is completely unsustainable.

In the short term, Brexit, Covid-19, the appeal of veganism, and climate change imperatives may change all that. But in the long run, grass for beef and dairy will continue to replace fruits, vegetables and potatoes, in Ireland at least. Here too, livestock, not lentils, will continue to rule the roast! – Yours, etc,



Co Cavan.