A food crisis kicked off by the Ukraine war could last for years without intervention, the head of the World Trade Organization has said.
African countries could be hit especially hard by wheat and fertilizer shortages, WTO director general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the BBC.
Millions of tonnes of grain are sitting in warehouses and Ukrainian ports unable to be exported due to the war.
She said that was “really sad” to see as grain prices soar.
Ukraine is a major global exporter of wheat, contributing to 9% of the global market. It also accounts for a massive 42% chunk of the global sunflower oil market, and 16% of the world’s maize.
Because of gridlock due to a Russian blockade of Black Sea ports, and Russian and Ukrainian mines along the coast, between 20 and 25 million tonnes of wheat are stuck in Ukraine while global grain prices spiral upwards.
By invading ukraine, Vladimir Putin will destroy the lives of people far from the battlefield—and on a scale even he may regret. The war is battering a global food system weakened by covid-19, climate change and an energy shock. Ukraine’s exports of grain and oilseeds have mostly stopped and Russia’s are threatened. Together, the two countries supply 12% of traded calories. Wheat prices, up 53% since the start of the year, jumped a further 6% on May 16th, after India said it would suspend exports because of an alarming heatwave.
The widely accepted idea of a cost-of-living crisis does not begin to capture the gravity of what may lie ahead. António Guterres, the un secretary general, warned on May 18th that the coming months threaten “the specter of a global food shortage” that could last for years. The high cost of staple foods has already raised the number of people who cannot be sure of getting enough to eat by 440m, to 1.6bn. Nearly 250m are on the brink of famine. If, as is likely, the war drags on and supplies from Russia and Ukraine are limited, hundreds of millions more people could fall into poverty. Political unrest will spread, children will be stunted and people will starve.
We have been warned that a devastating food crisis would hit the entire planet sooner rather than later. But most of us didn’t imagine things would actually escalate so quickly. The global food crisis we were told to prepare for is already upon us, and it is reaching apocalyptic proportions as problems continue to pile up. Millions of people that are already facing hunger will be pushed to the brink of starvation in the coming months. Even those who have been insulated from such problems up until this point are likely to experience food insecurity this year as shortages become far more extensive than anticipated. Farmers, industry executives, and global authorities are saying that there isn’t going to be enough food for everyone in 2022. And if all of that seems too hard to believe, hopefully, you’ll change your mind and start preparing after your watch this video.
The food crisis that is now unfolding all over the world is developing so rapidly that global leaders are getting extremely fearful about the short-term future of humanity. In recent weeks, a number of authorities, industry executives, and farmers came forward to warn about the severity of the situation. On Saturday, the CEO of Gro Intelligence told the UN Security Council that the world will enter a critical phase in less than three months as food supplies continue to get tighter and tighter. Sara Menker alerted that the planet only has 10 weeks’ worth of wheat left to deal with the crisis before it reaches catastrophic levels.
We are all going to be affected by this tragedy, but we have to remind ourselves that we were already heading towards a historic global food crisis way before the conflict in Ukraine erupted, and one of the main factors fueling this disaster is the fact that fertilizers are in short supply everywhere in the world, and prices are surging to unprecedented highs.
Massive fertilizer shortages are leaving farmers, fertilizer companies, and governments around the globe scrambling to avert a seemingly inevitable tumble in crop yields. And while some farmers in the western world can still afford to pay the higher prices, in poorer nations, millions of farmers are being forced to cut back on fertilizer, and in some cases, abandon their crops altogether. Consequently, food production will be way down this year.
Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The real problem will be the food that is not grown and not harvested this year. Soon, winter wheat will be harvested in the U.S., and according to Bloomberg data, thanks to the historic drought in the western half of the country it is being projected that the total amount harvested will be the smallest in almost 60 years.
“Some farmers already are writing off losses from parched grains. The US Department of Agriculture expects lower yields in Kansas, the top-growing state for hard red winter wheat, a staple relied on for bread flour. The shortfall is seen by USDA as pushing national production to the smallest since 1963,” Bloomberg reported. We have to consider that in 1963, the population of the United States was 189 million. Today, the population of the United States is 329 million. This crisis is so serious that the vast majority of us have absolutely no frame of reference for what is about to happen. A “perfect storm” is already upon us, and the most worrying part of it all is that most of us remain completely and utterly unprepared for it.
In future years, hyperinflation is a very real possibility. Historically, whenever a government creates massive debt and greatly increases the printing of currency, dramatic inflation, if not hyperinflation, results. Those businesses that are already on the ragged edge will find that when they’re paid, they cannot buy the same volume of goods for the same amount of dollars. This will be true throughout the entire food-supply chain. Of course, little inflationary blips are the norm in business, and businesses adjust to them. The problem comes when there are large increases that continue steadily over a period of months. When this occurs, we’ll see a greater frequency of food-supply businesses going belly up.
In a normal business climate, the failure of some businesses would aid the competition, as they would have new markets to take on, but if the remaining businesses are already having trouble, they will not be in a condition to expand. The disappearance of large numbers of providers will result in a failure of delivery to the next business down the chain. Nationwide, distribution will become inadequate. This, of course, will not be uniform. Some areas will suffer worse than others. Those types of areas that are already chronically problematic will be hit hardest.
Those who are the most likely to go down the earliest will be those who have the highest overheads and the lowest volume. Typically, these are the small stores—the ones on street corners in every city.
These stores are critical. If a supermarket in the suburbs experiences a shortage, purchasers may drive across town to another supermarket. Not so in the city. If a corner store has empty shelves, or worse, closes completely, the purchasers in that neighborhood must walk to the next neighborhood to buy, and they might not be welcome there if the people in that neighborhood are already having problems with supply at their local store. Worse, should the second store also close, the number of purchasers is redoubled. When the shoppers from two stores arrive at the third store, physical conflict between shoppers is a near certainty.
Some have seen this problem coming for a long time and changed their entire way of life by going off-grid. They have found alternative sources such as solar, wind and diesel to power their homes and machinery. A majority of us, who have not gone off-grid, are making a concerted effort to avoid dependence on this ailing infrastructure and preparing for life without it.
Enter the Cavalry
While the US and Europe have seen many riot situations and we can, therefore, study how they play out, a series of self-perpetuating riots has not taken place before. It’s likely that, within weeks, a national emergency would be declared, and rightly so. But how to deal with it?
Certainly, the president and state governors would quickly begin to work with wholesalers to ensure that food got to the cities (and any other locations that are also troubled). Needless to say, suppliers will refuse, stating that, in such a situation, they cannot get paid for any food that they deliver. Truckers will state that they cannot accept the danger that their drivers will be exposed to.
Politicians, feeling the pressure from their constituencies, will want to act decisively, even if their decisions prove ineffectual. In such cases, those politicians who are more conservative may decide to send in truckloads of food to be handed out for free, with the control of the Department of Homeland Security to (hopefully) keep order. Those politicians who are more liberal will believe that the right solution is to nationalize food supply in their states (and possibly nationally)—to take over the control of delivery.
As can be imagined, the results will vary from suburban situations in which the store staff are still in place and the provision of food at the retail level remains orderly, to inner-city situations in which trucks will be routinely ransacked. The evening news will show a clip of a “shopper” running down the street with a case of boxes of cornflakes while heads of lettuce roll on the pavement, some to be picked up, others to be trampled.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the supply chain, the wholesaler is trying to explain to the politicians that if he’s not paid in some way for the food he sends out, he simply cannot continue. Politicians (especially the more liberal ones), not understanding the workings of business, regard the businessman as simply being greedy and fail to understand that, without an orderly flow of money, business stops. The politicians place a temporary ban on all food containers being shipped overseas (even though the overseas customers may be the only truly reliable payers). The politicians advise the wholesalers that they will be paid “eventually.” If the money does not exist in the state’s treasury, some politicians may even promise future tax credits as payment. As a result, the supply of food breaks down on a major scale.
What happens if we lose power indefinitely — foods that require freezing or refrigeration for long term storage are going to go bad? Emergency food storage in advance will be the only way to feed yourself and your family.
1# Wheat — Properly stored, wheat has the best long-term storage potential for common foods. Hard Red Wheat berries have a 30+ storage life. Be store to store the pre-ground wheat, which are called wheat berries. Once ground into flour, it last only about one year. Soft red wheat berries stores up to 20 years. The white soft and hard wheat berries stores for 10 or less years. For your critical long-term preps, stick with hard red wheat. Be sure to have a wheat grind on hand, so that may flour from the stored wheat berries. If you allergic to wheat, consider oats or quinoa instead.
2# Salt — This is not so much a food, but rather an essential mineral needed by your body. If kept dry and sealed, salt has an endless storage life. I store two types of salt. Pure salt, or often called canning salt, has no iodine. I reserve the canning salt for food preservation. Before refrigeration, meat, fish and cheese were storable due to salt preservation. And I store several pounds of salt with iodine added for cooking and table usage. Salt is an item that is often overlooked in food storage. Yet is has so many usage and is vital to good health. Both too much and too little salt is bad for your health.
3# Sugar (or honey) — Pure white sugar and honey, if properly stored, never expires. Keep sugar in a sealed container, and it never goes bad. For more preps, I storeDomino’s sugar that is already pre-sealed in 4 pound plastic canisters. Honey is best stored in glass jars in a cool, dark place. If honey crystallizes over time, just warm it a bit to become fluid again. Honey has a lot of micro-nutrients, and is my preferred way to store sugar for the long-term. Occasionally, my local drug store, CVS, has the Dominos 4 pound canisters on sale or I might buy with CVS extra-bucks.
4# Rice — White rice, if sealed in cans with oxygen absorbers, can have a 20 year storage life. Brown rice has a storage life of around 5 years. White rice is simply brown rice with the husk removed. Brown rice has more flavor and more nutrition. But white rice stores longer, since the husk of brown rice has small amounts of oil within that go bad much quicker. What I like about storing rice is the amount of dense calories it provides. Rice is easier to prepare versus grinding wheat berries. A cups of white rice plus of vegetables from your garden makes a filling meal. Many people don’t realize the rice has some protein. Rice combined with beans provides all the protein your body needs.
5# Powdered milk — If you have children, this is a key food to store. Regular powdered milk has a shelf life of 2 years. If packed in meal cans by a reliable vendor, powdered milk can be stored for 5 or more years. Fat free powdered milk stores a bit long. Most baking recipes call for milk, of which powdered milk is an adequate substitute. My favorite powdered milk for long-term storage is Future Essentials Canned Powdered Homestyle Creamery Milk Substitute and Honeyville’s powdered milk.
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The Lost Book of Remedies PDF ( contains a series of medicinal andherbal recipes to make home made remedies from medicinal plants and herbs.Chromic diseases and maladies can be overcome by taking the remediesoutlined in this book. The writer claims that his grandfather was taughtherbalism and healing whilst in active service during world war twoand that he has treated many soldiers with his home made cures. )
The Lost Ways (Learn the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive famines,wars,economic crisis and anything else life threw at them)
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