I write this with my management accountant hat on. I have an Honours Degree in Management Accounting and studied accounting for 5 years. Not once was the concept of true cost accounting (TCA) mentioned.
If accounting was truly costed, if you will excuse the poor English, then many things would a lot more expensive and some cheaper.
Many costs are externalised or shifted onto the government or the taxpayer and don’t appear in the cost of the item.
I could fill many blog pages with examples but two quick ones will suffice.
First, the price of carbonated sugary drinks does not have the health damage to the human being in it. Considering we are the third most obese nation on earth and these drinks are one of the major causes of this epidemic if our government applied TCA then these drinks would be much more expensive to compensate for a sugar tax.
Second, the grain fed/confinement steak on the supermarket shelf does not have various costs included in it namely A) the health damage to the human being from 1. an Omega 6 overload and 2. antibiotic resistance from the routine antibiotics and 3. the asthma drugs the cattle are finished on and 4. the Vitamin A and D toxicity in their livers from constant exposure to faecal dust, B) the environmental damage from the way the animals are raised in the feedlots/confinement operations, C) the environmental damage from the way the food the animal is fed is produced (soil erosion and Glyphosate poisoning (click here for more on this carcinogen South Africans ingest daily)
Organic and BioDynamic food is priced according to true cost accounting and furthermore it is the only way to feed the world.
I have been fortunate enough to write a column for Longevity Magazine and I wrote the one below on organic agriculture feeding the world.
1 January 2016
Can organic agriculture feed the world?
Of all the questions asked of me when people come for a real food safari (farm tour) on our farm, Spier in Stellenbosch, this is the most common.
The answer is very simple. Yes.
Not only can organic agriculture feed the world but it should as the humans eating non organic food are sick and the earth is being destroyed by non organic farming. Non organic or extractive farming is known as conventional farming. In time it will be known us unconventional farming as consumers force retailers to stop upholding this lunacy.
A consistent theme of this column is the destruction of the earth by agriculture. 36 rugby fields a day of the rainforest is being cut down. This is the lung of the earth that produces oxygen that we breathe. How long can any human survive without oxygen? If we carry on cutting down rainforest we could soon be finding out.
The rainforest is felled on a daily basis to make space for planting of predominantly 4 crops. Soya, maize, palm oil and sugar cane. Soya and maize are grains that are fed to cattle which by design are meant to eat grass and so the grains violate their digestive system which then results in the meat causing a plethora of inflammatory diseases. We are eating ourselves to disease by choosing conventional/confinement/grain fed beef.
Palm oil is very widely used in the food industry. It has absolutely no health benefit (not that this has ever been a motivation for the food industry) and is another cause behind the inflammatory disease epidemic that humans are facing. An Omega 6 overload is another way to think of it.
Sugar, like palm oil, has no use in modern life. It makes people fat and sick but the food industry loves it because it is more addictive than cocaine, it enhances flavour and is a preservative.
As the rainforest is wiped out so are many species of animals that only live in the rainforest.
The next problem with conventional agriculture is that it leads to soil erosion. There are 20 times more kilograms of topsoil lost annually than there are kilograms of food produced in the world. Organic agriculture builds topsoil.
If you are still unclear of the effect of conventional food on humanity consider that the speciality in medicine that is growing the fastest is oncology. Closer to home we are the third most obese country in the world.
Here is how South Africa can feed itself with grass fed meat (beef, lamb and pigs) and eggs whilst at the same time creating jobs in the integrity food industry.
If you drive from the Transkei border all the way through KZN to Swaziland all you will see, apart from the urban sprawl that the Durban town planners are zealously expanding, is a monoculture of sugar cane. Sugar that makes people fat and sick. Furthermore this monoculture is fed with artificial fertilisers which burn up soil carbon and so lead to topsoil loss or soil erosion.
All that sugar cane could be replaced by multispecies pastures which if rotationally grazed, (the subject of a previous column) will not only sequester carbon which leads to topsoil being built but also nourish the humans eating that meat. Grass fed meat has the correct ratio of Omega 6 and 3.
There is also enough land to plant millions of trees into shelterbelts around and amongst the aforementioned pastures. To learn more about this subject, please go to my blog at www.farmerangus.co.za and look for the article on shelterbelts in the archive.
As always you are welcome to come to the farm for a real food safari.