To listen to and read many pundits, you might think so. Although I disagree, there are serious problems with the food supply around that world.
Deutche Welle had an article a few months back, about the rise in food prices, worldwide. They are the highest in six years, with six months of steady increases (and more since then). DW, like the governments (and no doubt other media), says this is due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They are wrong. The root problem is government actions.
The Pandemic itself has had virtually NO impact on THOSE economic activities: growing, processing, and distribution of food supplies. No, it is the PANIC that has constantly disrupted the food supply chain, at all levels. The Panic, instituted by government, and the actions: the LOCKDOWN in particular, of government.
There have been a few direct impacts of the virus on the food supply: the rapid spread of the virus in meatpacking plants in many States, for example. Packing plants mostly owned by Chinese entities, I note. (Merely coincidence, of course! Of course!) There may be others that don’t come immediately to mind. The supply chain is damaged in many ways for many materials – including food.
But with the pandemic supposedly receding, and with efforts to return to normal, food prices continue to climb. There are other impacts that must factor in.
And the other impacts? The ones triggering runs on food stores and preventing delivery of food – and even the processing and packaging, the harvesting and the planting? Caused DIRECTLY by government actions.
STUPID government actions that together constitute the Panic and the Lockdown. But actions which predate 2020. And indirectly send the public into a panic and panicked actions. Like buying every possible roll of toilet paper and can of beans and pound of meat. (I hear ketchup is the latest.) At the same time that sources of toilet paper and beans have been shut down to “prevent the spread.” Some jurisdictions – some tyrants – even went to the extent of closing down SEED sales in stores as “non-essential.”
Now, home gardeners not being able to plant their beans, herbs and zucchini might not have much impact on easing world hunger, but isn’t it the thought that counts? We know that meat animals were put down because they could not be transported and processed – causing a spike in meat prices AND a shortage of many kinds of meat, right here in the States. A shortage which is lasting for months – and may for years. (There is a long lead time on many foods, of course.)
The Pandemic is not good for supplies in general, but food is the one we most worry about. For some very good reasons. Not just the long lead time but also the things that are not under our (direct) human control, like weather patterns (not global warming nonsense but storm paths and the like). Animal and plant diseases and infestations cutting production. (Of course, manmade global warming fanatics blame that for all these things.) Things like diseases in potatoes, bananas, and other crops which can come with little or no warning and destroy yields overnight. Too much water (flooding, or just at the wrong time of year), not just too little. Sometimes just plain bad fortune: a sunken ship carrying 50,000 tons of grain, for instance – or even a turned-over semi-truck hauling 20 tons of onions!
But the greatest impact on availability of food is almost always government. From war and internal conflict disrupting farming AND processing AND transportation, to prohibitions on certain actions – hiring migrant workers to harvest food, for example. And especially stupid government actions pushed by environists, social-justice warriors, and special interest groups.
These are some of the worst. There is a large (and growing) push to destroy ALL dams on rivers in the Fifty States. Dams that provide for flood control – protecting farmland. Dams that provide for irrigation water – serving farmland. Dams that provide cheap electrical power – serving farmers and processors.
We are told we must have transportation “all-electric” by some magic date (2030 is one) to stop global warming. If cars and trucks are no longer powered by gasoline and diesel, the production of those goods (which many people want to ban, also) drops. With less supply, costs rise: so what happens to farm equipment supplies and costs? To fertilizer production? To pump water. And more. Added to this is demand for “sustainable” energy in the form of ethanol and bio-diesel, which converts food crops into fuel.
And of course, fertilizers are evil, almost as evil as genetically-modified foods – “frankenfoods” and such. But pesticides are even more evil. Not just to kill weeds and diseases that attack plants and animals, but also used against rats, mice, and insects that once consumed more food crops than humans did!
There are many more ways that bad – stupid, evil – government actions impact our food supply. I’ll mention just one more. Government control of land.
Urbanization does take away valuable farmland – that is not in doubt. Suburban spawl is bad and growing worse. But government control – both of owning land and of imposing planning and zoning land – has an even greater impact. Government–owned land is sometimes leased for grazing of meat animals, and timber sales (non-food ag, of course). But there is little or no farming, especially for food crops. Most such land is “preserved” and produce little or no food – less as hunting is effectively prohibited more and more places. Zoning prevents mixed uses, turns agricultural activities into industrial, and encourages sprawl and “best use” of land which reduces land available for production and processing.
All told, government is bad for food production and distribution, despite all claims to the contrary. Reducing and ending government control of this part of the economy would (as has been the case in the past here in the States and elsewhere) boost food production AND distribution, and thus reduce world hunger. And our own risk of starving in a land of plenty.