US drought: globalization strikes again
In 2008 rising costs of staple foods like rice and wheat sparked riots in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and stockpiling in other parts of the world. Some 37 countries faced food crises.
High fuel prices were blamed, as was an outbreak of disease and pests affecting rice crops in Vietnam. This article convincingly blames monoculture farming and the Green Revolution for creating a ‘perfect storm’ for a global food crisis.
Now a persistent drought in the United States, the world’s largest producer of corn, is driving prices of corn and soy to record levels, which can also raise the price of other staples like wheat.
Global grains stocks are currently down, especially in the US. This can be disastrous for countries who depend on imported grains.
Some analysts are predicting a repetition of the 2008 protests that swept across Africa and the Middle East, including countries like Egypt, because of food prices.
Higher prices will affect net importers like South Korea, Japan, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Columbia East Africa and parts of East Africa. West Africa will also suffer due to global market prices.
Read more in the Guardian.
Though comparative advantage, global trade, monoculture, etc., may create wealth and at least the illusion of food security in times of stable production and consumption, the crisis of 2008 and the current looming crisis highlight globalization’s flaws. For example, why should West Africa be dragged into crisis by a drought in the US when they are producing their own corn?