Catastrophic drop expected in 2009 global food production

Countries that make up two thirds of the world's agricultural output are experiencing drought conditions.

The drought in Northern China, the worst in 50 years, is worsening, and summer harvest is now threatened. China produces 18% of the world's grain each year.

In the USA, California is facing its worst drought in recorded history. The Texan drought is reaching historic proportion.

In Argentina, the worst drought in half a century has turned Argentina's once-fertile soil to dust and pushed the country into a state of emergency, and food production is set to go down a minimum of 50 percent, maybe more.

Brazil, the world's second-biggest exporter of soybeans and third-largest for corn, has cut its outlook for the crops after assessing damage to plants from desiccation in drought-stricken regions.

The severe drought affecting Chile has caused an agricultural emergency in 50 rural districts, and large sectors of the economy are concerned about possible electricity rationing in March.

Food production across the Horn of Africa has suffered because of the lack of rainfall. Also, half the agricultural soil has lost nutrients necessary to grow plant, and the declining soil fertility across Africa is exacerbating drought related crop losses.

The Middle East and Central Asia are suffering from the worst droughts in recent history , and food grain production has dropped to some of the lowest levels in decades.

Europe, the only big agricultural region relatively unaffected by drought, is set for a big drop in food production. Due to the combination of a late plantings, poorer soil conditions, reduced inputs, and light rainfall, Europe's agricultural output is likely to fall by 10 to 15 percent.

Overall, the world is heading for a drop in agricultural production of 20 to 40 percent, depending on the severity and length of the current global droughts. Food prices will soar, and, in poor countries with food deficits, millions will starve.

[Excerpt of an article by Eric deCarbonnel, MarketSkeptics]

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