Two articles about the imminent global food crisis…
Not that the globe isn’t facing a food crisis already, but it could quickly get a lot worse…
In the early spring this year, US farmers were on their way to planting some 96m acres in corn, the most in 75 years. A warm early spring got the crop off to a great start. Analysts were predicting the largest corn harvest on record.
The United States is the leading producer and exporter of corn, the world’s feedgrain. At home, corn accounts for four-fifths of the US grain harvest. Internationally, the US corn crop exceeds China’s rice and wheat harvests combined. Among the big three grains – corn, wheat, and rice – corn is now the leader, with production well above that of wheat and nearly double that of rice.
The corn plant is as sensitive as it is productive. Thirsty and fast-growing, it is vulnerable to both extreme heat and drought. At elevated temperatures, the corn plant, which is normally so productive, goes into thermal shock.
Twice in the last five years, rising food prices triggered global waves of social unrest. With drought baking U.S. crops, another round of soaring, society-straining price spikes may happen in coming months.
According to researchers from the New England Complex Systems Institute, commodity speculation — investors betting on food prices — will amplify the drought’s market signals, creating a new food bubble and the crises that follow.
“The drought is clearly going to kick prices up. It already has. What happens when you have speculators is that it goes through the roof,” said NECSI president Yaneer Bar-Yam. “We’ve created an unstable system. Globally, we are very vulnerable.”