Chapter 1: Introduction: what needs to be rethought?
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A central theme of the book is that there are four principal drivers of change in food and agriculture. The first of these is the structure of the industry itself ranging from the individual farmer and the input and output industries s/he is served by through processors and traders to caterers and retailers. Second is technology which has had a transformative effect on food production and offers considerable, although sometimes overstated, potential for the future. Third are changing patterns of consumer demand, in part driven by increased prosperity and higher levels of knowledge about food. Fourth is the role of the state and a variety of international governance bodies. Agricultural policy has shifted from an exceptionalist to a post-exceptionalist paradigm. The food chain faces the legacy of old and outdated ideas and policy-making structures. A holistic view needs to be taken of the food chain which gives sufficient consideration to environmental sustainability and health and well-being.