Cost-benefit analysis is a term that is used to refer to the process of comparing the benefits against the costs of one or more options in order to choose the alternative which is the best or the most profitable. It entails assessing all the costs and all the benefits then determining the difference. In order to decide on whether to buy locally produced products or not to buy, one needs to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the benefits as well as the costs of such a move. Examples of products that can be bought locally or imported are foodstuffs e. g. vegetables.
Buying locally means buying foodstuffs and products that are produced within one’s locality. Buying locally produced foodstuffs has its costs as well as benefits. Among the benefits of buying locally produced foodstuffs against non-locally produced are that locally produced foodstuffs require less energy to produce than imported ones. (http://www. sustainabletable. org/issues/buylocal/). For instance, the supply chain from the farmer to the consumer is short unlike in imported items which have to undergo long distribution chains before reaching the consumers.
This leads to less environmental pollution because little transportation is needed to move the produce to the consumer. Processing and transportation of produce requires a large amount of fuel. This leads to more emissions of carbon monoxide and the greenhouse gases thus environmental degradation. These are the gases that lead to global warming. (http://www. sustainabletable. org/issues/energy/). The greenhouse gases also cause direct harm to human health through emission of toxic by-products when they are burnt. Another benefit of buying locally produced foodstuffs is that fewer amounts of fertilizers are used in producing them.
Since manures are heavy, they can not be transported over long distances hence are used within short distances. Imported foods would require artificial fertilizers and pesticides for their production since they are produced on a large scale. Large amounts of energy are expended in producing these fertilizers hence environmental degradation. Furthermore these fertilizers and pesticides have direct negative impacts on the environment in that they pollute the soil and consequently water. In addition, locally produced foods require less processing and preservation measures than the non-locally produced.
Since their distribution distances are not long, locally produced foods can be accessed by consumers when they are still fresh hence do not require processing or use of preservatives. On the other hand, non-locally produced foods require processing and preservation in order to make them reach the intended destinations in usable forms. Processing requires energy thus additional costs. Since local foods do not need large-scale farms to produce, the concept of organic farming can be applied. This is opposed to non-locally produced which are technology intensive i. e.
require heavy machinery and large amounts of fertilizers and pesticides to produce. Thus, in terms of energy costs, locally produced foodstuffs are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than the non-locally produced foodstuffs. (http://www. localharvest. org/buylocal. jsp). Adopting this concept will lead to the world saving a large amount of energy that can be used elsewhere. This system is also good in that it reduces substantially the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. This is good in that effects of the gases on the environment i. e. global warming are reduced.
Locally produced foods also have more benefits to the consumer than the non-locally produced. Firstly, locally produced foods can be accessed when they are still fresh hence are more nutritious. This ensures that the quality of the produce is guaranteed. Due to the fact that agricultural products are highly perishable, non-locally produced foodstuffs need processing and preservation to improve their shelf life (http://www. sustainabletable. org/issues/buylocal/). Due to this, their quality is not guaranteed. The preservatives also alter the nutrition of the products and can also be harmful to consumers’ health.
Processing requires energy hence fossil fuels are used which lead to environmental pollution. Another reason why consumers would prefer locally produced foods to non-locally produced is that they get the products from people they recognize. Thus locally produces foodstuffs are favored to non-locally produced ones due to the above factors. The cost estimates of local foodstuffs are far less than those for non-local foodstuffs. In accordance with the above analysis, it is very cheap to produce foods locally.
This is because the farmers can use sustainable production methods which have less harmful effects to the environment (http://www. localharvest. org/buylocal. jsp. ). Locally produced foods also have less energy requirements as opposed to non-locally produced ones. This is due to the fact that less transportation and processing is required for locally produced foodstuffs. Based on the above facts, it is imperative to note that buying locally produced foodstuffs is much more beneficial than buying non-locally produced foods. Not only does doing this support the fight against environmental degradation but also helps improve a peoples’ health. Fresh foodstuffs are nutritious good for a healthy living.
This policy would also enhance reservation of the non-renewable energy sources. This policy should be adopted because it can lead to the creation of self reliant food economies and consequently promoting food self sufficiency. REFERENCES Buy Local. Retrieved on 18th April, 2008. From (http://www. sustainabletable. org/issues/buylocal/) Sustainable Table; healthy foods. Retrieved 18th April, 2008. From (http://www. sustainabletable. org/issues/buylocal/) Local Harvest. Retrieved on 18th April, 2008. From (http://www. localharvest. org/buylocal. jsp
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