Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

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SkylightMT's picture
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Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

Have we already talked about this?

As if global economic collapse isn't enough, 2009 looks to be a humanitarian disaster around much of the world due to severe drought and massive decrease in food production.

The countries that make up two thirds of the world's agricultural output are experiencing drought conditions.

California is facing its worst drought in recorded history . The drought is predicted to be the most severe in modern times, worse than those in 1977 and 1991. Thousands of acres of row crops already have been fallowed, with more to follow. 

Low stocks of foodstuff make the world's falling agriculture output particularly worrisome. The combined averaged of the ending stock levels of the major trading countries of Australia, Canada, United States, and the European Union have been declining steadily in the last few years:

2002-2005: 47.4 million tons
2007: 37.6 million tons
2008: 27.4 million tons

The world is heading for a drop in agricultural production of 20 to 40 percent, but we were already not keeping up with consumption and eating into stockpiles as shown above.

California has stopped moving water to farms costing about $1billion in lost produce and 40,000 jobs. CA grows about 50% of our produce so this is significant.

About 1/2 of the world's top grain producers have shut down exports because they are not even sure they can feed their own populations let alone anyone else. 

Around the world, wheat is becoming a precious commodity. In Pakistan, thousands of paramilitary troops have been deployed since January to guard trucks carrying wheat and flour. Malaysia, trying to keep its commodities at home, has made it a crime to export flour and other products without a license. Consumer groups in Italy staged a widely publicized (if also widely disregarded) one-day pasta strike last fall.

Farmer Brown's picture
Farmer Brown
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Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

Wow, thanks for the links.  I knew agricultural commodities were facing severe upwards-pricing pressures, but this brings it much more into perspective. 


.'s picture
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Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

You are correct Patrick, there is a TON of money to be made in agricultural futures!

Just joking, I've been aware of this problem for a several weeks now and it scares the sh*t out of me!

FireJack's picture
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Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

Just before I read this I was looking at the drumbeat on oildrum and there are a few articles about how oil producers are having a hard time getting the money they need for investment. That meas that Gail the Actuary's article is coming true and a massive oil production crash could starting already. That would mean a collapse in food production given how mechanized the system is. Then I read this post.


Anyone know where you can buy bulk food (say a years worth for a single
person) in ontario. Its gone from a long emergency to a sudden collapse
scenerio and it looks like we got months to prepare. Glad I saved up some money, was hoping to save enouph to buy some property but looks like I should invest in survival supplies. 


Ruhh's picture
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Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production
FireJack wrote:

Anyone know where you can buy bulk food (say a years worth for a single
person) in ontario.

Good to see another Ontarian here FireJack. Whereabouts?

You've got a few options and I would recommend a mix of each.

Go to a local Asian or Indian market and buy a few big bags or rice. They always have the best rice (basmati) for the best prices.

Bulk Barn has good prices on all kinds of dry bulk foods. We buy a lot
from there. Flour, beans, raisins, pasta and they have great organic quinoa.

If you've got a lot of money to blow you can always buy those freeze-dried backpacking foods at a MEC or camping/outdoor store.

You definitely want to pick up some dry beans, lentils and chickpeas. Learn how to cook them and learn how to sprout them sooner than later. The flavour is so much better than canned and way cheaper. We just make big batches once every two weeks and freeze bag 1-2 cup portions. That way you're set for anytime you want to use them. Sprouting is also tasty, easy and ultra nutritious. Beans (and sprouts) are an excellent source of protein and ideal for long term storage (forever if stored properly unlike canned goods).

A little more expensive but we like to keep a variety of nuts around too. Especially good to have around if you can't cook and need your protein.


As with any bulk items make sure you seal them and put them separately in some sort of sealed bins. Especially nuts and certain beans. We once had a simultaneous moth and insect infestation that cost us hours and a few hundred dollars.

Bon appetit!

caroline_culbert's picture
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Posts: 624
Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

Yes... but how many are brave enough to link these destructive forces to AGW?  Even if everyone in the U.S. started "going green", it would hardly make up for the destruction people have made to the land and surrounding natural vegetation and/or organisms. 


STOP pouring chemicals on your grass!

STOP your plastic bag addiction!

STOP your increase of garbage!

STOP your excessive printing addiction (use the backs of already printed paper)!

STOP getting paper/plastic cups just to discard after drinking (use reusables)!

STOP receiving unwanted mail (write REFUSE on your junk mail and RETURN TO SENDER to remove your info from their mailing list; or call them directly!!)

STOP buying newspapers (for all those reading on this site you should be able to just subscribe online)!

STOP the excessive salting during winter seasons!

All of the above affect vegetation and/or organisms that create the food/animals/natural vegetation we eat!  Do you really want to kill this stuff?  One person may not if s/he does one of the things listed above but multiply this by one billion+ !!!


Damnthematrix's picture
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Posts: 3998
Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

Stocking food will only be helpful until you run out.....

Learn to grow your own, learn Permaculture.  Search this site, there is already heaps of useful info here...


FireJack's picture
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Joined: Feb 8 2009
Posts: 156
Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

Hello Ruhh, live about 2 1/2 hours NW of toronto, small town area. I know there's a bulk barn in nearby owen sound i'll have to check them out, see if I can find some dried beans in bulk.


Don't worry matrix I have been working hard on my permiculture skills but in a crash scenerio I think it good to be able to hunker down a bit while the majority who did nothing to prepare die. Wish I had a doomstead but I don't see the people in my town going crazy and killing each other. 

FireJack's picture
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Joined: Feb 8 2009
Posts: 156
Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

Well went through the articles properly and it looks worse than I thought. Looks like this is the year of the collapse and as I thought food will be the first major issue. That bit about  "China's 60 million tons of grain reserves doesn't actually exists" kind of seals the deal there. Time to do some serious thinking about what to do next.

capesurvivor's picture
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Posts: 963
Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

I don't remember who posted somewhere here but Walmart has non-hybrid "American Seeds" for .20/pack. I had a long talk with a "green" employee who has used the seeds every year with great success, growing most them in flower pots she gets free from funeral parlors who throw them out after services!

She gets my Green Award for the year.



Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
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Posts: 2373
Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

Here is a *great* place to start on Permaculture:

I found this the other day, and it's one of the better permaculture sites I've seen.

Tons of good information. Enjoy!

hbspd416's picture
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Posts: 1
Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production



I'm with you on this.  While I have only recently begun to be concerned (6 months or so) I am making it a high priority to prepare.  I told my prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  From the ideas I've gotten from this thread already it's obvious that many here are thinking these things through while others are just flying by the seat of their pants as it were.

 I intend on storing a great amount of food including, freeze dried, canned, frozen, etc. but i also plan on attempting some gardening.  We have 5 acres available, we're on a well system and our own septic system that treats the sewage to the point it's actually clean enough to consume (although my bride is not too keen on that :-)  ! )

 A large cache of survival food will hopefully not be my only source of sustenance.  If someone goes out and buys a year's worth of food I hope they don't sit on their duffs and expect to make it.  That should be used just to give you time to establish a workable system to function in.

 I don't think it will take more than a year to stabilize much of the U.S. but I'm not going to wait and see.

Those in the extremely concentrated urban areas are going to have a tough time.   

DrKrbyLuv's picture
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Posts: 1995
Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

SkylightMT - thanks for alert.  I really like the Permaculture concept but doubt that our growing season is long enough and I don't think my suburban yard is big enough to sustain us.  The bulk food links are greatly appreciated. 


switters's picture
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Joined: Jul 19 2008
Posts: 744
Re: Catastrophic Fall in Global Food Production

Excellent post.  This is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.  As the production of fossil fuels drops due to decreased demand and investment, and the prices go up, the food problem is only going to get worse.

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