Thursday, July 25, 2024

Is a global food crisis the new normal?

The world is facing an unprecedented food crisis. Reports from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicate that 9.2 percent of the global population – between 691 million and 783 million people – faced hunger in 2022, significantly higher than 7.9 percent in 2019 and pre-pandemic years. This crisis has been compounded by climate change, with extreme weather events like floods and drought causing crop failures and food insecurity.

In Pakistan, for example, devastating floods have swamped 80 percent of the country’s crops, pushing it into a food crisis. Argentina and Spain have experienced unprecedented droughts in 2023, while Australia is bracing for a dramatic 34 percent decline in its wheat yield this year due to arid El Niño conditions. The United States, Europe, and Canada are also facing heat-related corn and wheat production issues.

Food Crisis Looms as Multiple Nations, Including Kenya, Somalia, and Haiti, Face Reduced Crop Yields

Is a global food crisis the new normal?

Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, Haiti, Chile, and Bolivia are expected to suffer lower crop yields this year due to weather conditions. This creates a problem when it comes to global food supplies; while one part of the world may be seeing a decline in production, it cannot always be compensated by bumper yields in other countries.

Professor Bharat Ramaswami of Ashoka University in India notes that global food supply does not necessarily change much in unaffected parts of the world. He advocates for the free movement of food supplies between countries to solve this challenge. However, this is difficult due to export controls, geopolitical tensions, and other factors.

In the long run, rising temperatures will lead to a decline in the yields of key crops like rice, wheat, maize, and soybean. The solution may be found in traditional climate-smart crops which are more resilient to extreme weather events. Millets have seen an increase in exports over the past few years due to their nutritional benefits and climate-friendly characteristics, for example. Scientists have also developed drought-tolerant varieties of crops such as rice, wheat, maize, and other important staples.

To solve this global food crisis, coordinated action is needed from exporters. It will restore faith in the global trading system and ensure that the interests of poorer countries are not sacrificed. Investment in agricultural research and technology is also essential to improve crop production systems and ensure the use of resilient seeds.

This unprecedented crisis requires urgent action from all parts of the world. With the right steps, it may still be possible to avoid a looming global food crisis, one which would have devastating consequences for people around the world.

However, ultimately, our collective future depends on the success of these efforts. It is time to unite and take collective action—for the sake of humanity.

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