Food security is a major issue for both wealthy and poverty-stricken countries
Half a million people will die worldwide in 2050 as climate change will harm food supplies
War, drought, regional conflict and natural disasters affect a country’s ability to feed itself. Food security is a major issue, for both wealthy and poverty-stricken countries all over the world.
Continued population and income increase have pushed the United States, China, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom up the list of the countries who import the most food items. Importing a high amount of food does not necessarily mean that a country is food insecure. Many of the world’s largest food importing countries also happen to be among the worlds richest.
It may be noted that majority of the countries importing the most food in the world have the potential to become completely food sufficient if they really wish. In these countries food insecurity is not of concern. Food is largely imported to create more variety for the consumer. Water and land limitations, represents a large portion of the global population. Therefore the countries rely on imported food in order to free from starvation.
By year 2050, more than half of the world’s population is expected to rely in food sourced from other countries. According to Marianela Fader of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research that population pressures will push many nations to maximize their domestic food production capacity. The climate information and patterns of land utilization for each country are then translated into yields for numerous kinds of crops.
By collecting the information on regarding the respective populations and water and food intakes of each nation, the country is able to closely evaluate what percentage of its food requirement could produce on their own in the future.
Problems with food security will continue to trouble the world in coming years if the aforementioned study plays out to be an accurate projection.
One way to wipe out such concern is for each country, rich or poor, to concentrate its resources on improving their agricultural productivity, which can play an important role in alleviating food shortages. Diet modifications are generated towards the consumption of crops that are already produced locally.
Countries those were unable to produce their own food include: This list was last updated on December 5, 2017.
Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, North Korea, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
Food securities are still a major issue, for both wealthy and poverty-ridden countries all over the world. This should come as no surprise with the ever present inflation of food demand that stems in large from a continually rising global population.
The United States, being one of the world’s largest economies, imports a total of $133 billion worth of food and food products, followed by China at $105.26 billion, Germany at $98.90 billion, Japan at $68.86 billion, the United Kingdom at $66.54 billion, the Netherlands at $64.38 billion, France at $62.29 billion, Italy at $51.34 billion, Belgium at $40.87 billion and the Russian Federation at $38.60 billion.
When food is imported out of a necessity for nourishment the countries become dependent on outside sources as a way of feeding their populations. Currently, there are at least 34 countries that are unable to produce their own food due to water and land limitations.
This represents a large portion of the global population who must rely on imported food in order to avoid starvation.
It is rather surprising that Canada imports more food products than it exports. Canada should look to countries like the Netherlands, which is a leading exporter of roasted coffee even though it doesn’t grow coffee beans.
Canada’s agricultural food trade profile continues to be in deficit. The demand for specific items grows up around the globe. Rethinking of processing, value adding and export aggression is long overdue. Considering the low value of the Canadian currency, this is a happy time to push products onto the world stage.
Netherlands is one of the world’s largest exporters of roasted coffee. The nation doesn’t grow coffee but it imports the commodity and adds value. Canada does this with chocolate. Just as Brazil’s coffee is value added outside of the country, Canada’s commodities are often sent somewhere else for processing and value adding.
Canada is the world’s 11th-largest exporter of all goods, bringing the value per person to nearly $14,000. In Ontario and Quebec, more than 65 percent of agricultural production is processed and sold as a value-added product, while the West struggles at 40 percent or less. Quebec bakeries are using Quebec flour while Alberta wheat goes to China, Japan, Iran, South Korea and the US.
The food-processing industry, led by Ontario and Quebec, has a strong domestic presence when it comes to GDP. Food processing is the number one manufacturing employer in Canada and the greatest manufacturing contributor to GDP.
The agriculture food trade deficit is a big concern because it indicates that Canada import more food products than it export. Canada is one of the top 10 importers of food in the world. It continues to depend on imports rather than value adds to the export profile and eliminates that deficit. Small and medium enterprises provide 84 percent of food manufacturing in Canada.
Italy concentrates on domestic consumption and is regionally divided when it comes to food. The country is failing on the global stage when it comes to exports and because of the regional protectionism and lack of production for global players. Domestic food manufacturers have to suffer along with the economy.
Ready-made pasta dishes from Barilla changed the outlook for that company by meeting the needs of the consumer of the day, specifically in China.
Dependence on food imports intimidate developing countries
Harsh weather and restrictive export policies could create a food crisis that would menaced 200 million people worldwide.
Wheat, rice and corn are staples of diets around the world, but many developing countries do not produce enough for their own needs. Countries have to import in large quantities in order to feed their population. They put their food security at risk when they have to depend on just one or two major exporters.
With the worst drought in 50 years, some 18 million people dependent on emergency food supplies. Ethiopia seems to be marketing itself as an up market tourist destination.
Central America and the Caribbean, would be put at risk of hunger if food aid is stopped. Many North African and Middle Eastern countries are especially susceptible to import-related cereal price increases.
Impact of climate change
Irrigation and several harvests, cultivating different crops, could increase and diversify income in tropical and subtropical countries. According to a study climate change will kill more Italians and Greeks than Syrians in 2050, as soaring temperatures destroy crops and disrupt food supplies.
About 124 Greeks will die for every million of its population in 2050, making it the third worst hit country per capita globally behind China and Vietnam. Italy is 12th in the study’s analysis of 155 countries with 4,630 deaths in total. Syria, in contrast, will lose just 320 people, 840 fewer than Greece. Other EU countries including the UK, France, Germany and Italy will also suffer greater death tolls both in numbers and per capita than Syria in 2050. Poland, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg also rank higher.
The study, led by Dr Marco Springmann from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food at the University of Oxford, said that climate change will harm food supplies so drastically that half a million people will die worldwide in 2050 alone. Nearly half of those deaths will happen in China (247,910), with 230 Chinese succumbing per million of the population.
The study is the first of its kind to assess the impact of climate change on diet composition and bodyweight, and to estimate the number of deaths they will cause in 155 countries in 2050.
Dr Springmann said “Changes in food availability and intake also affect dietary and weight-related risk factors such as low fruit and vegetable intake, high red meat consumption and high bodyweight. “These all increase the incidence of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer as well as death from those diseases.”
France is 23rd in the list of total deaths with 1,960, the UK 26th with 1,510 fatalities, Romania 30th with 1,330 deaths, Germany 34th on 1,200, and Greece 36th with 1, 160 deaths.
Crops in the Mediterranean will be badly hit by climate change. Non-Mediterranean countries will also suffer because they import from those and other climate vulnerable nations.
Germany, France and the UK ranked highly in the number of deaths because of their larger populations, but, in per capita terms, are lower in the list of 155 countries. Greece is third, Italy seventh and Romania eighth on the per capital list, France is 56th, the UK is 68th, and Germany 83rd.
The study revealed that, unless action is taken to reduce global emissions, climate change could cut the projected improvement in food availability by about a third by 2050.
If prices rise, or wild weather prompts countries to impose grain export bans, as Russia did in 2010, nations heavily dependent on imports could face crisis.
More than a third of countries import at least 25 percent of their grains, an increase of 57 percent since 1961, said Gary Gardner, a researcher at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington.
Thirteen countries were 100 percent dependent on imports for their grain supply by 2013, an 18 percent increase from 1961, said Gardner, author of the report ‘Food Trade and Self-Sufficiency.’
World grain imports rose from just over 50 million tons in 1961 to more than 300 million tons in 2013, the report said. “More and more countries depend on global markets for their food – that creates vulnerability,” Gardner told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Russia’s 2010 ban was partially responsible for triggering social unrest and a revolution in Egypt as more than 500,000 tons were not supplied and global prices rose damaging Egypt’s state bread subsidy program, a farm lobby group said.
Population growth, expanding like for meat in developing countries, which requires grain for feed and environmental pressures mean this trend won’t last forever.
Governments should do their best to protect farmland and water resources, and to nurture homegrown production and not just leave food supplies to the mercy of global markets, Gardner added.