Published on October 29th, 2011 | by Tim Tyler
Global Food Crisis (Global Crisis Series)
Just as the world is fragile and susceptible to devastation, so is the human race. If the perfect balance that keeps humanity together is disrupted, then some of the consequences can be quite unfortunate. The perfect balance that keeps the world in harmony is being disrupted and the possibility of a major catastrophe is imminent. There is an ominous global crisis about to transpire from a shortage of food and a decline in the global financial system, and it will have a dire effect on all humanity.
The possibility of a global food shortage is looming and the effects could be felt in the near future. There are several factors that contribute to this global dilemma. There is not one factor that is solely responsible for the problem, but a combination of factors that are disrupting the balance of the global food supply. With a likely end result being a shortage in the food supply, this will have an adverse effect on everyone.
Some of the more apparent reasons for a global food shortage at the moment are climate change, increased population, and plant diseases.
What is a Food Crisis?
“A food crisis occurs when rates of hunger and malnutrition rise sharply at local, national, or global levels. This definition distinguishes a food crisis from chronic hunger, although food crises are far more likely among populations already suffering from prolonged hunger and malnutrition. A food crisis is usually set off by a shock to either supply or demand for food and often involves a sudden spike in food prices.” Timmer, C. (2010)
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Climate Change & Food Shortage
The effects of climate change are the leading cause of a food shortage. The world is experiencing a catastrophic change in weather patterns. Storms are becoming more volatile and droughts are becoming more severe. These changes are having an effect on crop production around the world. Some of the weather conditions that are associated with climate change are extreme cold, extreme heat, and excessive amounts of rain and snow. These conditions contribute to damaged crops around to world.
“A report by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute says climate change will reduce irrigated wheat yields by 30 per cent in developing countries by 2050, pushing prices up by as much as 121 per cent. Irrigated rice yields are forecast to fall by 15 per cent and rice prices are expected to rise by up to 150 per cent.” Asa Wahlquist, R. (2009)
Global Population Growth & Food Crisis
The global population is growing at an alarming rate and providing enough food to combat this problem is becoming challenging. The current rate of food production will not be enough to feed the growing population. Food production will have to be increased according to the growth of the world’s population if we are to avoid a total food crisis.
“Global food production must increase by 50% to meet the projected demand of the world’s population by 2050. Meeting this difficult challenge will be made even harder if climate change melts portions of the Himalayan glaciers to affect 25% of world cereal production in Asia by influencing water availability.” Chakraborty, S. S., & Newton, A. C. (2011).
In order to have a sustainable future, more farmland will have to be designated to increase crop production. Accurate assessments of the growing population will have to be made in order to have enough supplies to feed the demand. With an increasing population, great caution will have to be taken to offset the effects of climate change and to prevent plant diseases from occurring.
While climate change plays a big part in damaging the world food supply, plant diseases contribute to this dilemma as well.
Plant disease can demolish entire crops and spread to other crops within in a region. Plant diseases are hard to control, since they are usually discovered after they have infected the crops. “Pest and disease management has played its role in doubling food production in the last 40 years, but pathogens still claim 10-16% of the global harvest.” Chakraborty, S. S., & Newton, A. C. (2011).
While plant diseases are not as significant as other causes of crop failure, they are a big concern to overall food supply, as anything that has an adverse effect on production can be devastating. Controlling plant disease will have to be considered on the global scale to ensure that the limited crops that are able to be grown are not damaged by disease.
Shortage of Food.. Who Will It Affect?
A shortage in food will drive food prices to unaffordable levels that most cannot sustain. “Higher food prices are devastating for the over three billion poor people around the world who live on less than $2 U.S. dollars (USD) a day and spend 60 to 80 percent of their incomes on food.
With food prices predicted to rise by an annual rate of 10 percent over the next 10 years, the number of hungry people is expected to rise from around 890 million today to around 1.2 billion by 2025.” feu-us.org
In the event of a food shortage, the possibility of riots and chaos against governments pose a significant risk. If food supplies become too low, then the ability to replenish supplies will take a long period of time. This will result in people in less wealthy countries suffering from starvation and death. Malnutrition from lack of food will cause pandemics of diseases that could spread globally. I think the results of a likely food shortage will contribute to the start of a global crisis.