Quebec Standard

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The long-term dangers to global food safety go far beyond Ukraine

Quebec

Key takeaways: 

  • A Black Sea deal on food may reduce the short-term problem — but more significant issues lie on the horizon.
  • Farmland failure, soil degradation, and climate change are setting unusual pressures on humanity’s capability to feed itself.

In the Middle Ages, people learned from bitter incidents that war and pandemics usually ride together with another horseman: starvation.

“We encounter an exceptional global hunger problem,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cautioned last month.”In the previous two years, the number of severely food‑insecure people worldwide has almost doubled to 276 million. There is an actual risk that numerous famines will be announced in 2022. And 2023 could be even more destructive.”

As the week closed, the agreement between Russia and Ukraine to unblock the Black Sea docks got a ray of hope.

“Canada’s belief in Russia’s dependability is pretty much nil,” stated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday. “They have shown nothing but poor faith.”

But, he added, “we are delighted.” Relief can’t come soon enough in several areas.

Also read: Trudeau declares $255M for clean energy in Nova Scotia

In the Middle Ages, people learned from bitter incidents that war and pandemics usually ride together with another horseman: starvation

Food costs have risen worldwide — but in Sri Lanka in May, food already cost an average of 57 percent more than it did just a year before, driving 30 percent of families into hunger and leading to a public uprising that got the government crashing down. 

Since then, things have only risen more desperate.

Regional factors in Sri Lanka — such as a ban on the importation of fertilizers — heightened global factors like the fighting in Ukraine.

But worldwide, those temporary troubles are playing out against a backdrop of alarming trends that endanger the world’s capacity to feed itself in the long term. And Canada is not resistant to those trends.

Human settlements manage to appear in areas where food can be grown. As they grow, they sprawl over that good farmland

Source – CBC News.

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