Currently, there is a food shortage of massive proportions sweeping the globe. This food shortage will affect residents of poor and less-developed countries first, but the effects will trickle down to even the most highly developed countries quickly. The food shortage is not as much of a shortage due to decreased production as a shortage caused by price increases.
Residents of countries that consume a higher proportion of processed foods to unprocessed foods can weather the storm more easily than people whose diets consist mostly of unprocessed basics. That is because people consuming many processes foods can switch to buying basics, saving money and remaining able to pay for their food. Those whose diet consists of basics such as fresh fruits, vegetables and grains, have nowhere to go, except hungry.
This food shortage is the result of many different factors-including the aforementioned price increases. There are five main factors contributing to the global food shortage which is rapidly devolving into a global food crisis.
Five Factors Contributing to the Global Food Crisis
1) Rising Fertilizer Costs
Farmers in the poorest nations cannot afford fertilizer for their crops. Their land is so depleted of nutrients that they cannot effectively raise food without fertilizer. Fertilizer prices are rising because synthetic fertilizer is produced using oil-based energy sources, the price of which is rising steadily and quickly.
2) Subsidies for Production of Bio-fuels
Biofuels are produced with the same ingredients of food. Agricultural subsidies spent toward biofuel production are monies not spent on food production and distribution. While not the only cause, biofuel subsidies are a concern because they take money away from food production subsidies and biofuel production still requires use of fertilizers, which are produced using energy from conventional fossil fuels.
3) Poor Distribution Systems
Donating food to developing countries is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it provides necessary nutrients to sometimes starving populations. On the other hand, free food delivered to hungry countries contributes to price collapses for local food producers, taking away the incentive to produce food locally.
4) Unchecked Population Growth
Population growth is a vicious cycle-especially in developing nations. Families need help farming crops, so they have more children, translating into more bodies to help-and more mouths to feed. Additionally, birth control measures are less available in developing countries, contributing to the fast population growth.
All over the world, drought in top-food producing regions is reducing food production and driving prices higher. Drought across major food producing regions of the United States, including the southeast, Midwest and western regions is increasing food prices. Drought in regions of the African continent and in Australia is making it impossible to grow food-because there is no water to buy and no money to buy it.
Other factors, including political relationships, are contributing to the global food emergency. The five listed above are the main factors, in large part because they are either factors out of control of humans (we can’t control the weather), or because they are due to lack of research into energy and alternative fuel sources.