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UN Warns Of Looming Worldwide Food Crisis In 2013

10/15/2012 Leave a comment

By John Vidal, The Observer – “World grain reserves are so dangerously low that severe weather in the United States or other food-exporting countries could trigger a major hunger crisis next year, the United Nations has warned.

Failing harvests in the US, Ukraine and other countries this year have eroded reserves to their lowest level since 1974. The US, which has experienced record heatwaves and droughts in 2012, now holds in reserve a historically low 6.5% of the maize that it expects to consume in the next year, says the UN.

‘We’ve not been producing as much as we are consuming. That is why stocks are being run down. Supplies are now very tight across the world and reserves are at a very low level, leaving no room for unexpected events next year,’ said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). With food consumption exceeding the amount grown for six of the past 11 years, countries have run down reserves from an average of 107 days of consumption 10 years ago to under 74 days recently.

Prices of main food crops such as wheat and maize are now close to those that sparked riots in 25 countries in 2008. FAO figures released this week suggest that 870 million people are malnourished and the food crisis is growing in the Middle East and Africa. Wheat production this year is expected to be 5.2% below 2011, with yields of most other crops, except rice, also falling, says the UN.

The figures come as one of the world’s leading environmentalists issued a warning that the global food supply system could collapse at any point, leaving hundreds of millions more people hungry, sparking widespread riots and bringing down governments. In a shocking new assessment of the prospects of meeting food needs, Lester Brown, president of the Earth policy research centre in Washington, says that the climate is no longer reliable and the demands for food are growing so fast that a breakdown is inevitable, unless urgent action is taken.

‘Food shortages undermined earlier civilisations. We are on the same path. Each country is now fending for itself…” Read more.

World Food Prices Moving Closer To Crisis Levels, No Normalization Expected Anytime Soon

10/05/2012 8 comments

Reuters – “World food prices rose in September and are moving nearer to levels reached during the 2008 food crisis.

The United Nations food agency reported on Thursday that the worst drought in more than 50 years in the United States had sent corn and soybean prices to record highs over the summer, and, coupled with drought in Russia and other Black Sea exporting countries, raised fears of a renewed crisis.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) price index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, rose 1.4% in September, mainly due to higher dairy and meat prices.

‘It’s highly unlikely we will see a normalisation of prices anytime soon,’ said FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian.

Parmjit Singh, head of the food and drink sector at London law company Eversheds, said higher prices would place further pressure on squeezed international food supply chains.

‘Manufacturers and producers will naturally want to pass on increased costs to their clients but they will meet with stiff resistance from retailers who are reluctant to increase checkout prices for increasingly value-conscious customers,’ Singh said.

FAO’s index is below a peak reached in February 2011, when high food prices helped drive the Arab spring uprisings in the Middle East and north Africa, but current levels are very close to those seen in 2008, which sparked riots in poor countries.” Source – The Guardian.

Flashback: ‘Drought Of Biblical Proportions’ Strikes Spain’s Olive Oil Harvest – “That has caused prices to spike, with consumers expected to pay more for the ‘green gold’ in coming months as supermarkets jack up prices. ‘It’s been a drought of biblical proportions, the worst since 1945, the ‘year of hunger’ for Spain,’ said Nuñez de Prado, adding rainfall where his farm is located in the shadows of the Sierra Madre mountains was the lowest since that year.” Read more.

Flashback: US Drought Now Officially Among The Worst In American History May Intensify In The Months Ahead – “The drought scorching the nation has reached a level surpassed only twice before in recorded weather history. The National Climatic Data Center reported this week that 57.2% of the contiguous USA is ‘moderately to extremely dry,’ a percentage topped only during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and during another drought in the mid-1950s.” Read more.

Flashback: Worst Drought In Years Devastates Southeast Europe, ‘Only God Can Help Us’ – “After the harshest winter in decades, the Balkans in the southeast of Europe is now facing the worst drought in years. Sadly, it will only serve to compound the global effects of America’s current drought. Nikola Radic, a Serbian farmer, said, ‘There is no salvation here.’ Radic says he ‘lost hope for salvation even a month ago, and now it’s even worse.’ In some places in Bosnia, the drought is the worst in 40 years.” Read more.

‘Drought Of Biblical Proportions’ Strikes Spain’s Olive Oil Harvest

09/30/2012 Leave a comment

By Nigel Davies, Reuters – “‘An olive tree is like a camel, you don’t have to give it much water, but when it’s thirsty, it really has to drink,’ says olive oil producer Francisco Nuñez de Prado of the drought that could shrivel this year’s harvest to half of last year’s.

Nuñez de Prado’s estate in the country’s olive oil heart in Spain’s sun drenched Andalucia is expected to suffer a sharp fall in harvest this year. His has been saved to some extent thanks to extensive irrigation, but other producers have seen not a single olive growing on their branches.

That has caused prices to spike, with consumers expected to pay more for the ‘green gold’ in coming months as supermarkets jack up prices.

‘It’s been a drought of biblical proportions, the worst since 1945, the ‘year of hunger’ for Spain,’ said Nuñez de Prado, adding rainfall where his farm is located in the shadows of the Sierra Madre mountains was the lowest since that year.

A lean harvest will be another blow for Spain, the euro zone’s fourth largest economy, which replaced Greece, Ireland and Portugal earlier this year as the main threat to the survival of the euro currency project.

From 1943-1945 Spain suffered one of the worst droughts in its history. The drought after Spain exited a civil war in 1939 wrecked crops, dried the country’s then limited reservoirs, and forced restrictions on electricity consumption.

Official data from Spain’s meteorological institute shows this year has been the second driest in 60 years, after 1994. That has especially hit the arid south in Andalucia, which produces around 80 percent of the country’s olive oil.

This week it has begun to rain heavily in Andalucia, but analysts say that consistent rainfall rather than two days of heavy downpours would be needed for the harvest to be much higher than currently forecast.

New irrigation systems and reservoirs in the country have alleviated the effect of the drought for some producers, but a harvest expected to be around 800,000 metric tonnes (881,849 tons), half of a bumper crop last year, has seen prices rocket by 50 percent since July.” Read more.

Pakistan: Hundreds Killed By Flooding, Thousands Injured, 350,000 Displaced, Crops Destroyed, Millions Affected

09/29/2012 Leave a comment

CNN – “Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Floods resulting from monsoon rains have killed 422 people and left nearly 3,000 injured across Pakistan, a disaster agency spokesman said Saturday.

Some 350,000 people have been forced from their homes and another 4.7 million people affected by the flooding since August 22, Ahmed Kamal of the National Disaster Management Authority said.

More than 15,000 villages have been affected and many houses destroyed or damaged in the past five weeks, he said.

Pakistan has suffered a series of devastating inundations, affecting millions of people, in recent years.

Flooding last year killed 470 people and impacted 9.1 million others, Kamal said.

In the worst-affected area of Sindh province, in southeastern Pakistan, the waters submerged more than 4.5 million acres of farming land, damaging an estimated 80% of cash crops.” Read more.

US Drought Now Officially Among The Worst In American History May Intensify In The Months Ahead

09/15/2012 1 comment

By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY – “The drought scorching the nation has reached a level surpassed only twice before in recorded weather history.

The National Climatic Data Center reported this week that 57.2% of the contiguous USA is ‘moderately to extremely dry,’ a percentage topped only during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and during another drought in the mid-1950s.

We’ve got a long way to go to reach the Dust Bowl, though: At one point, in July 1934, a phenomenal 79.9% of the country was moderately or extremely dry.

Recent rainfall came too late to help the withered U.S. corn crop already being harvested in many parts of the country, but it kept the strongest drought in decades from worsening in several key Midwest and Plains states.

The U.S. is the world’s leading producer of corn, wheat and soybeans, and the drought raised widespread concern about higher food prices.

Unfortunately, the Climate Prediction Center’s U.S. drought outlook issued last week points to drought conditions lingering or intensifying over most of the nation in the months ahead.” Source – USA Today.

Drought of 2012 Conjures Up Dust Bowl Memories, Raises Questions for Tomorrow – “Over 63% of the contiguous United States in early September was suffering moderate to exceptional drought, nearly twice the land affected a year ago, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Using July data, the National Climatic Data Center reported that America is in the midst of its most expansive drought since December 1956. The combination of dry conditions and extreme heat — including hundreds of record-breaking temperatures this summer — has been unbearable for many. The drought’s impact has been seen in ways big and small, from leaves falling early and lawns turning brown to farmers giving up and lakes drying up, exposing hundreds of dead fish.” Read more.

From Dry Rivers to Dead Deer, Drought’s Impact Felt Everywhere – “Well before Hurricane Isaac hit Louisiana and brought localized heavy flooding, the weather story of the summer was not about an abundance of water — it was the lack thereof. And it still is. Farmers and residents in 40 states know this all too well, as this summer’s blend of low rainfall and extreme heat has created a crisis for many. Over a recent six-week stretch, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 1,692 counties as disaster areas due to the drought. The department notes about 80% of agricultural land in the country is affected, making this year’s drought more far-reaching than any since the 1950s. The impact has been felt by farmers and ranchers nationwide, but they’re hardly alone.” Read more.

Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Accuses The West Of Destroying Iran’s Rain Clouds

09/11/2012 Leave a comment

Apparently Allah isn’t as mighty as America. It almost brings Revelation 11:6 to mind. At any rate, I have to ask the obvious: If America is holding back Iran’s rain, who is holding back America’s rain? …

Matthew 5:45, “… for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

In Need Of Christ's Reign

In Need Of Christ’s Reign

By Robert Tait, The Telegraph – “The Iranian president made the assertions in a speech on Monday addressing the problems caused by low rainfall trends, which experts say is threatening Iran’s agriculture.

‘Today our country is moving towards drought, which is partly unintentional due to industry and partly intentional, as a result of the enemy destroying the clouds moving towards our country and this is a war that Iran is going to overcome,’ Mr Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the Caspian Sea city of Gonbad-e Kavus to mark its registration as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Although Iran is recognised as having one of the world’s driest climates, the comments were the latest in a series of allegations by officials of a Western conspiracy to turn its water shortage into a major crisis.

In July, Hassan Mousavi, head of Iran’s cultural heritage organisation and one of Mr Ahmadinejad’s vice-presidents, urged meteorological experts to investigate the possibility that the west was engineering a draught in southern Iran, traditionally one of the country’s most parched regions.

‘I feel that the world arrogance and colonisation (Iranian official code language for the US and its allies) by using their technologies, are affecting the environmental situation in Iran,’ he said.” Read more.

Flashback: The New Normal: Western North America Faces 21st Century ‘Mega-Drought’ – “The climate’s ‘new normal’ for most of the coming century will parallel the long-term drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 – the most severe drought in 800 years – scientists report in a study published Sunday… Crops and forests died and river basins dried, but as bad as conditions were during the 2000-04 drought, in the future they may be seen as the good old days, a group of 10 researchers warned …” Read more.

Worst Drought In Years Devastates Southeast Europe, ‘Only God Can Help Us’

08/26/2012 Leave a comment

“After the harshest winter in decades, the Balkans in the southeast of Europe is now facing the worst drought in years. Sadly, it will only serve to compound the global effects of America’s current drought.

Nikola Radic, a Serbian farmer, said, ‘There is no salvation here.’ Radic says he ‘lost hope for salvation even a month ago, and now it’s even worse.’

In some places in Bosnia, the drought is the worst in 40 years.

Record-setting summer temperatures have devastated food and electricity production in the region, which is already badly hit by the global economic crisis.

In Bosnia, the heat has destroyed almost 70 percent of vegetable and corn production, with potato and corn among the worst-affected crops. Most farmers are cutting down their corn crops for livestock feed, but the quality is so poor that most of the parched crop cannot even be used for that.

Crops in Bosnia’s Semberija region are brown and brittle, and some 27,000 acres have been lost in this area alone.

Officials estimate that the drought in Bosnia-Herzegovina will cost the equivalent of half a billion euros.

Farmers are worried that they will not have adequate funds next year to buy seed corn and other investments. One farmer, who is expecting yields of less than a third of the 2011 crop, said that if the drought persists for another year, he will no longer be able to farm.

Farmers are asking for state help, but, with prolonged economic and political crisis placing a strain on national finances, none is coming.

Ljubisav Tomic, a farmer in Bosnia, sayid ‘This is lost. Only God can help us, only heavens can save us.’

Expect already-high food prices to continue to rise as grain supplies become increasingly depleted.” Source – TheTrumpet.com.

Arkansas: Dozens Of Cattle Deaths Blamed On Drought-Stressed Forage

08/24/2012 1 comment

By Mary Hightower, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture – “More than 50 cattle deaths due to forage made poisonous by drought or toxic weeds have been confirmed in Arkansas, said Tom Troxel, associate head-animal science for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

‘It’s another blow to our livestock owners in an already excruciatingly difficult year,’ Troxel said Tuesday. ‘With an average value of $900 per head, that’s a loss of $45,900.’

There were another 112 deaths with unconfirmed causes.

Troxel said Tuesday the reports were in response to an informal survey of county extension agents in Arkansas. In June, there were two cattle deaths reported.

There were 46 deaths due to prussic acid, a cyanide compound found in drought- or frost-stressed johnsongrass, sorghum or sudangrass. Those 46 were in Benton, Dallas, Hempstead, Saline, Sharp, Van Buren, Washington and White counties.

There was one confirmed death due to nitrate poisoning in Little River County. Nitrates can concentrate in a variety of plants such as johnsongrass, perilla mint, acorns, pigweed and wild cherry leaves.

Four deaths due to cattle eating poisonous weeds were confirmed in Howard and Baxter counties.” Read more.

Pakistan: Mysterious Disease Killing Dozens Of Cows In Cholistan

08/15/2012 Leave a comment

Pukhtoonistan Gazette – “KARACHI: A mysterious disease has killed 68 cows during the last week in Cholistan.

The disease which starts in the form of a light fever leads to fits in the cattle following which they die.

According to locals of the area, due to a drought this year animals are being forced to drink dirty water. Speaking to Geo News Zoology expert Ali Raza said that dirty water leads to stomach and liver diseases.

Meanwhile MD Cholistan Development Authority said a committee has been formed to investigate the death of the cattle and a report is awaited.” Source – Pukhtoonistan Gazette.

The Mississippi River Is Drying Up As Food Prices Continue To Surge

08/15/2012 Leave a comment

By Michael Snyder, ETF Daily News -“The worst drought in more than 50 years is having a devastating impact on the Mississippi River. The Mississippi has become very thin and very narrow, and if it keeps on dropping there is a very real possibility that all river traffic could get shut down. And considering the fact that approximately 60 percent of our grain (NYSEARCA:JJG), 22 percent of our oil (NYSEARCA:USO) and natural gas (NYSEARCA:UNG), and and one-fifth of our coal travel down the Mississippi River, that would be absolutely crippling for our economy. It has been estimated that if all Mississippi River traffic was stopped that it would cost the U.S. economy 300 million dollars a day. So far most of the media coverage of this historic drought has focused on the impact that it is having on farmers and ranchers, but the health of the Mississippi River is also absolutely crucial to the economic success of this nation, and right now the Mississippi is in incredibly bad shape. In some areas the river is already 20 feet below normal and the water is expected to continue to drop. If we have another 12 months of weather ahead of us similar to what we have seen over the last 12 months then the mighty Mississippi is going to be a complete and total disaster zone by this time next year.

Most Americans simply do not understand how vitally important the Mississippi River is to all of us. If the Mississippi River continues drying up to the point where commercial travel is no longer possible, it would be an absolutely devastating blow to the U.S. economy.

Unfortunately, vast stretches of the Mississippi are already dangerously low.” Read more.

Closing The Mighty Mississippi Will Affect People All Over The Country – “The Mississippi river is drying up and some shipping companies are worried that the drought of 1988 may be repeated, a time when the river dried up so much that barge traffic came to a standstill. In 1988 the shipping industry lost $1 billion, a number that would be far higher in 2012 and could be reached in as little as three days. Almost all of the rivers 2,500 miles are experiencing some type of low water level. Just outside of Memphis the river is 13 feet below normal depth while the National Weather Service says Vicksburg, Mississippi is 20 feet below normal levels… Closing the Mississippi will affect people all over the country, barges, tugboats and towboats ship petroleum, grain, fertilizer, sand, gravel, steel and other items that will raise in price if their means of transportation are severed for much of the United States. According to Time, ‘About 60% of the country’s grain exports and one-fifth of its coal is transported along the nation’s inland waterway system.'” Read more.

The New Normal: Western North America Faces 21st Century ‘Mega-drought’

07/31/2012 Leave a comment

ENS – “The climate’s ‘new normal’ for most of the coming century will parallel the long-term drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 – the most severe drought in 800 years – scientists report in a study published Sunday.

‘The severity and incidence of climatic extremes, including drought, have increased as a result of climate warming,’ the researchers said, adding that these long-term trends are consistent with a 21st century ‘megadrought.’

Crops and forests died and river basins dried, but as bad as conditions were during the 2000-04 drought, in the future they may be seen as the good old days, a group of 10 researchers warned Sunday in the journal ‘Nature Geoscience.’

Climate models and precipitation projections indicate this period will be closer to the ‘wet end’ of a drier hydroclimate during the last half of the 21st century, the scientists said.

‘Climatic extremes such as this will cause more large-scale droughts and forest mortality, and the ability of vegetation to sequester carbon is going to decline,’ said Beverly Law, a co-author of the study, professor of global change biology and terrestrial systems science at Oregon State University, and former science director of AmeriFlux, an ecosystem observation network.

The 2000-04 drought had the effect of amplifying climate change as vegetation withered and could no longer take up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

This drought cut carbon sequestration by an average of 51 percent in the western United States, Canada and Mexico, the scientists calculate, although some areas were hit much harder than others. As the plants died, they released more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, with the effect of amplifying global warming.

‘During this drought, carbon sequestration from this region was reduced by half,’ Law said. ‘That’s a huge drop. And if global carbon emissions don’t come down, the future will be even worse.'” Read more.

‘Unprecedented’: In Mere Days US ‘Extreme Drought’ Zones Triple In Size

07/28/2012 Leave a comment

By Andrew Gully, AFP – “The drought in America’s breadbasket is intensifying at an unprecedented rate, experts warned, driving concern food prices could soar if crops in the world’s key producer are decimated.

The US Drought Monitor reported a nearly threefold increase in areas of extreme drought over the past week in the nine Midwestern states where three quarters of the country’s corn and soybean crops are produced.

‘That expansion of D3 or extreme conditions intensified quite rapidly and we went from 11.9 percent to 28.9 percent in just one week,’ Brian Fuchs, a climatologist and Drought Monitor author, told AFP.

‘For myself, studying drought, that’s rapid. We’ve seen a lot of things developing with this drought that were unprecedented, especially the speed.’

Almost two thirds of the continental United States are now suffering drought conditions, the largest area recorded since the Drought Monitor project started in 1999.

‘If you are following the grain prices here in the US, they are reflecting the anticipated shortages with a price increase,’ Fuchs said.

‘In turn, you’re going to see those price increases trickle into the other areas that use those grain crops: cattle feed, ethanol production and then food stuffs.’

In some rural areas, municipal water suppliers are talking about mandatory restrictions because they have seen such a dramatic drop in the water table that they fear being unable to fulfill deliveries to customers, Fuchs said.

‘Things have really developed over the last two months and conditions have worsened just that quick and that is really unprecedented,’ he added.

‘Definitely exports are going to suffer because there is going to be less available and the markets are already reflecting that.

‘It’s anticipated that this drought is going to persist through the next couple of months at least and conditions are not overly favorable to see any widespread improvement.'” Read more.

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