CNN: Zimbabwe Short on Food

CNN is reporting that Zimbabwe will soon have more than 2 million people who are in dire need of ‘food aid’:

In the longer term, there were concerns over a general decline in agricultural
productivity in southern Africa linked to shortages of capital for fertilizer and other inputs, soil erosion, overgrazing, deforestation and global warming that reduced yields.

These conditions forced an increasing number of people to become dependent on small holder and subsistence farming to survive. Zimbabwe needs about 1.8 million tons of corn, the staple food, a year but in the last harvest produced less than half that amount, according to independent surveys.

The country is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980, with more than 1,000 percent inflation, the highest in the world, and acute shortages of hard currency and gasoline. The crisis has been largely blamed on the chaotic and often violent seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms since 2000 in Zimbabwe, a former regional breadbasket. (Emphasis mine)

Some readers of this blog will note that I mentioned Zimbabwe’s gasoline shortage back in July, and it appears that it’s only getting worse. That country is currently getting the triple-play of hyperinflation, energy shortages, and food shortages that some are predicting will become a global crisis once we start down the back end of the oil production curve.

The United States, like Zimbabwe, is considered a regional, if not global breadbasket, and we are just as dependent on fertilizer inputs to keep our grain harvests high as well. We are also suffering from soil erosion and deforestation as well, along with drought conditions in part of the country. Who’s to say that we won’t be in the same state as Zimbabwe some day?

We should look at situations like this as our canaries in the coal mine. Globalization has allowed the industrial nations of the world to export our poverty and resource shortages elsewhere while we consume more than our fair share. We’re starting to see more news items about third world nations running out of critical resources, whether it’s food, water, minerals or energy. In our current economic model, those are also ‘our’ resources whether we realize it or not.

Learning how to raise at least some of our own food is going to become a necessity in the coming years. Consider news like this fair warning, and prepare accordingly.

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