Increased demand from an increasing world population in more developed countries, coupled with supply shortages from bad weather and poor harvests are leading food prices higher.
Russia, the 4th largest wheat producer, recently banned all exports of grain for at least 12 months due to their own decreased production because of drought, heatwave, and wildfires. The ban could remain in place until after the 2011 harvest.
Pakistan’s recent enormous flooding has destroyed half a million tonnes of wheat while at the same time their planting season is upon them and is now in jeopardy, and may very well result in no wheat production for a year.
Bad weather is expected to reduce Germany’s winter wheat harvest by nearly 10 percent.
The Australian wheat harvest is in question because of a locust plague and lack of rain, the worlds 5th largest wheat producer.
Canada’s wheat harvest is expected to be down 35 percent due to extraordinary rainfall.
The reports continue to come in regarding weather extremes causing crop damage and failures. The circumstances couldn’t be at a worse time while people around the globe already suffer from poor economic times. The effects of wheat crop failures will trickle into many foods resulting in much higher prices. Already wheat prices have increased 45 percent since Russia’s export ban.
In our current world of uncertainty, examples like this serve as a wake-up call that we are increasingly vulnerable and dependent upon the supply and distribution chains that we rely upon for survival. Disruptions of these supply chains cause price increases at best, and starvation, riots, and death at worst.
Perhaps we should strive to be more self-sufficient in some ways, to decrease our risk and dependencies upon others. We can combat food price inflation by growing some of our own food, buying in bulk, learning how to preserve foods, or even learning how to make foods like bread from the basic non-processed ingredients (this will not only save you lots of money, but will likely be much healthier).
Modern survival means anticipating, preparing for, and recognizing the modern day dependencies that exist all around us. Technology has enabled tremendous numbers of the world population to live at ease and comfort while not having to know the skills that would be required to survive by yourself or in small groups. Don’t be fooled into thinking that all this will remain to be as it is, comfortable and easy. There are many forces at work, both natural and human, that could bring it all down a notch or two.
Be prepared and live a happier life knowing a few skills such as growing a garden or preserving your own foods. You will do your part fighting food price inflation and you will most likely sleep better at night ;=)
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