Global food security is stretched to the breaking point, and Russia’s fires and Pakistan’s floods are only making a bad situation worse.
According to the World Bank, 44 million people around the globe have been pushed into extreme poverty since last June because of rising food prices.
The world is losing topsoil at an astounding rate. In fact, according to Lester Brown, “one third of the world’s cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming through natural processes”.
Due to U.S. ethanol subsidies, almost a third of all corn grown in the United States is now used for fuel. This is putting a lot of stress on the price of corn.
Due to a lack of water, some countries in the Middle East find themselves forced to almost totally rely on other nations for basic food staples. For example, it is being projected that there will be no more wheat production in Saudi Arabia.
Water tables all over the globe are being depleted at an alarming rate due to “overpumping”. According to the World Bank, there are 130 million people in China and 175 million people in India that are being fed with grain with water that is being pumped out of aquifers faster than it can be replaced. So what happens once all of that water is gone?
In the United States, the systematic depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer could eventually turn “America’s Breadbasket” back into the “Dust Bowl”.
Diseases such as UG99 wheat rust are wiping out increasingly large segments of the world food supply.
The tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis in Japan have rendered vast agricultural areas in that nation unusable. In fact, there are many that believe that eventually a significant portion of northern Japan will be considered to be uninhabitable. Not only that, many are now convinced that the Japanese economy, the third largest economy in the world, is likely to totally collapse as a result of all this.
The price of oil may be the biggest factor on this list. The way that we produce our food is very heavily dependent on oil. The way that we transport our food is very heavily dependent on oil. When you have skyrocketing oil prices, our entire food production system becomes much more expensive. If the price of oil continues to stay high, we are going to see much higher food prices and some forms of food production will no longer make economic sense at all.
At some point the world could experience a very serious fertilizer shortage. According to scientists with the Global Phosphorus Research Initiative, the world is not going to have enough phosphorous to meet agricultural demand in just 30 to 40 years.
Food inflation is already devastating many economies around the globe. For example, India is dealing with an annual food inflation rate of 18 percent.
According to the United Nations, the global price of food reached a new all-time high in February.
According to the World Bank, the global price of food has risen 36% over the past 12 months.
The commodity price of wheat has approximately doubled since last summer.
The commodity price of corn has also about doubled since last summer.
The commodity price of soybeans is up about 50% since last June.
The commodity price of orange juice has doubled since 2009.
There are about 3 billion people around the globe that live on the equivalent of 2 dollars a day or less and the world was already on the verge of economic disaster before this year even began.
2011 has already been one of the craziest years since World War 2. Revolutions have swept across the Middle East, the United States has gotten involved in the civil war in Libya, Europe is on the verge of a financial meltdown and the U.S. dollar is dying. None of this is good news for global food production.
There have been persistent rumors of shortages at some of the biggest suppliers of emergency food in the United States.
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“If you are an ordinary person, then you can prepare yourself for war by moving to the countryside and building a farm, but you must take guns with you, as the hordes of starving will be roaming. Also, even though the elite will have their safe havens and specialist shelters, they must be just as careful during the war as the ordinary civilians, because their shelters can still be compromised.”
Are you ready for the collapse of the agricultural system? In this video I go over all of the factors which threaten the global food supply. Consumerism, overpopulation, urbanization, pollution, biodiversity, monoculture, farming practices, water shortages, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, overfishing, geopolitics, bee extinction, monopoly (big agri), genetically modified food, global warming, soil erosion, land loss. drought, are just some of the many challenges to our way of life. GET READY.
Internationally, the United States must lead efforts to ensure open and well-regulated agricultural markets. Farm subsidies and tariffs in rich countries must be reduced and commodity markets made more transparent. A recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development indicates subsidies for agriculture in the world’s richest countries rose to $252.5 billion, or 22 percent of farmers’ total receipts in 2009. And impediments to free trade between developing countries must be eliminated.
The Group of Twenty leading developed and developing nations must uphold their pledges of $22 billion to enhance global food security by sending real money out the door. The multilateral Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, a new global partnership funded by commitments from the United States, Canada, South Korea, Spain, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is to be commended for issuing $224 million in initial grants to help increase food security and reduce poverty in five developing countries.
But lasting gains in agricultural productivity will require something more — action to confront climate change. Food shortages resulting from severe crop losses will occur more frequently and take longer to recover from as more people become vulnerable to extreme weather events like the droughts and flooding we see today in Russia and Pakistan. The World Bank predicts that developing countries will require $75 billion to $100 billion a year for the next 40 years to adapt to the effects of climate change on agricultural productivity, infrastructure, and disease.
This year, we may be able to limit the damage to a single supply shock in Russia and Eastern Europe. But even in the best of times, our global food system is stretched to the breaking point by the ever-present challenges of population growth, increased demand from changing diets, higher energy costs, and more extreme weather. Experts at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimate global agricultural productivity must double by 2050 to keep pace with increased demand. Unless we take immediate action, we are destined to race from food crisis to food crisis for generations to come, with grim consequences for the world’s poor and our own national security.
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