Thursday, February 9, 2023

Food Shortages Are Starting To Become Quite Serious All Over the Planet By Michael Snyder

 The worst case scenario that many of the experts feared is starting to play out right in front of our eyes.  Throughout 2022, I repeatedly warned my regular readers that there were all sorts of indications that the emerging global food crisis would go to entirely new level in 2023, and that is precisely what is happening.  In response to tightening supplies of food, prices are surging all over the planet and the number of desperately hungry people is exploding.  Unfortunately, this crisis is not going to be just temporary.  As I will explain at the end of this article, the global nightmare that we are facing is inevitably going to intensify in the years ahead.

Most of us in the western world simply do not understand how badly conditions have already deteriorated in much of the world.

For example, Reuters is admitting that the hunger crisis in Africa has now become “bigger and more complex than the continent has ever seen”…

Across Africa, from east to west, people are experiencing a food crisis that is bigger and more complex than the continent has ever seen, say diplomats and humanitarian workers.

Please let that sink in for a moment.

There have been many famines in Africa in the past, but things have never been as bad as they are right now.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East a severe shortage of wheat is forcing many Pakistanis to wait in line for hours “to receive a single bag”

Pakistan is currently suffering from skyrocketing prices and a shortage of wheat flour, with people waiting in line for hours to receive a single bag.

Would you wait in line for hours for one bag of flour?

If you were desperately hungry you would.

In South America, seemingly endless civil unrest has intensified the very serious shortages that are happening in Peru

As the anti-government protests in Peru show no sign of ending, the country is currently facing a shortage of basic products including food items and fuel.

And on the other side of the globe, Australians are growing increasingly frustrated about the very painful potato shortage that has gripped that nation

Potatoes are among Australia’s favourite vegetables. However, we are facing a shortage of processed potatoes, especially of frozen chips. Coles introduced a two-item limit for shoppers seeking frozen potato products. Fish and chip businesses are under pressure and some are outraged McDonald’s is launching a new potato product in the middle of a crisis.

In previous decades, there have been times when there have been localized famines in various parts of the world.

But what we are facing now is global.

According to the New York Times, food shortages are “causing intense pain across Africa, Asia and the Americas”…

“We’re dealing now with a massive food insecurity crisis,” Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, said last month at a summit with African leaders in Washington. “It’s the product of a lot of things, as we all know,” he said, “including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”

The food shortages and high prices are causing intense pain across Africa, Asia and the Americas. U.S. officials are especially worried about Afghanistan and Yemen, which have been ravaged by war. Egypt, Lebanon and other big food-importing nations are finding it difficult to pay their debts and other expenses because costs have surged. Even in wealthy countries like the United States and Britain, soaring inflation driven in part by the war’s disruptions has left poorer people without enough to eat.

Have I convinced you yet?

This is serious.

Here in the United States, food prices continue to escalate to frightening levels.  For example, the price of orange juice just skyrocketed to a brand new record high because it is being projected that Florida citrus production will hit the lowest level since 1945

OJ futures have hit a new high, surging 10 cents or 4.56% to $2.292/lb, surpassing the 2016 record of $2.2585, due to limited supply.

The USDA predicts Florida’s citrus production will reach 44.5 million boxes this year, which could result in the state’s smallest orange harvest since 1945. This is due to “greening disease” and hurricane damage in Florida’s citrus groves.

In 1945, there were 139 million people living in the United States.

Today, the population of the country has risen to 329 million.

So there are far less oranges per person now.

The size of the national cattle herd is also shrinking

The latest figures from the US Department of Agriculture cattle-inventory report on Tuesday showed 89.3 million cattle as of Jan. 1, down 3% from a year ago. The decline wasn’t unexpected and was in line with a Bloomberg survey.

This means that beef prices are going to continue to go higher and higher.

You could try to switch to chicken or turkey, but thanks to the bird flu pandemic they certainly aren’t inexpensive either.

At this point, the bird flu has already killed more than 58 million chickens and turkeys in the United States.

If that wasn’t bad enough, now a lot of chicken farmers around the country are reporting that their hens have suddenly stopped laying eggs.  This is something that Tucker Carlson recently discussed…

Now healthy hens lay eggs on a regular basis, every 24 to 26 hours. But suddenly, chicken owners all over the country – not all of them, but a lot of them – are reporting they’re not getting any eggs or as many. So what’s causing that? Clearly, something is causing that. Some have concluded their chicken feed may be responsible.

Egg prices have already shot up to a level that most people never dreamed would be possible, and this is creating quite a bit of panic.

More Americans than ever before are suddenly interested in raising their own chickens, and this has sparked quite a buying frenzy at local hatcheries…

Google search interest in “raising chickens” has jumped markedly from a year ago. The shift is part of a broader phenomenon: A small but rapidly growing slice of the American population has become interested in growing and raising food at home, a trend that was nascent before the pandemic and that has been invigorated by the shortages it spurred.

“As there are more and more shortages, it’s driving more people to want to raise their own food,” Ms. Stevenson observed on a January afternoon, as 242 callers to the hatchery sat on hold, presumably waiting to stock up on their own chicks and chick-adjacent accessories.

Unfortunately, everything that I have shared in this article so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

That is because global food supplies are going to continue to get tighter in the years ahead no matter what we do now.

If we suddenly stopped using all fertilizer immediately, we would only be able to feed about half the world.

So the production of fertilizer is absolutely critical.

Unfortunately, almost all of the phosphorus that we use in our fertilizers comes from “non-renewable phosphate rock”, and 85 percent of the remaining supply is located in just five countries

Without phosphorus food cannot be produced, since all plants and animals need it to grow. Put simply: if there is no phosphorus, there is no life. As such, phosphorus-based fertilisers – it is the “P” in “NPK” fertiliser – have become critical to the global food system.

Most phosphorus comes from non-renewable phosphate rock and it cannot be synthesised artificially. All farmers therefore need access to it, but 85% of the world’s remaining high-grade phosphate rock is concentrated in just five countries (some of which are “geopolitically complex”): Morocco, China, Egypt, Algeria and South Africa.

As supplies of non-renewable phosphate rock continue to get tighter and tighter, global food supplies will continue to get tighter and tighter.

Eventually there will simply not be enough non-renewable phosphate rock to go around, and at point we will be in all sorts of trouble.

The kind of horrifying global famine that I have been relentlessly warning about has become inevitable.

It is just a matter of time.

I would encourage you to learn how to grow your own food now, because we are moving into times that will be extremely “interesting” indeed.

Reprinted with permission from The Economic Collapse.