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The relation of drought, food production, oil prices, and food availability is not always a simple, nor a widely understood interdependency.

food Food security is the world's leading problem.

 

Food price increases in a relatively brief period in 2008, and from 2011–2013 triggered serious sociopolitical disruptions in Africa & Asia.

 

Origins of food | famines | food needs water & fuel | gasoline | electricity | corn uses | global consumption | Darfur | malnutrition | climate

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Where food originates and for whom?

food

"The United States produces approximately 35 percent of the world's corn and soybean supply, commodities that are 'crucial in the food chain, because they are used for feed stock for animals,' Coleman says."
"There are many large food producers in the world. China is the largest wheat producer, but it is also the largest wheat consumer. What makes the United States unique is that we are the largest exporter, so we produce about 35 percent of the world's corn and soybean supply. Those two commodities are crucial in the food chain, because they are used for feed stock for animals. Around the world you have rising middle classes, a growing demand for meat and protein in the diet, and countries around the world are becoming increasingly dependent on relatively inexpensive food stocks from the United States. When you see a crop failure of the magnitude you have seen this summer, it flows through the whole food chain."

"You're going to see the continuation of [political] instability driven in part by rapidly rising food prices."

cow"Right now (2012) you have American livestock producers taking their pigs and cattle to the slaughter house because they simply don't have the food to be feeding them. So you're going to see meat prices in the short term in the United States go down, but over the longer term you're going to see rising meat prices; [experts] are predicting already 4 to 5 percent price increases in meat for the next year. That flows through the whole food chain, [to] big-population countries that import a lot of food, such as the Philippines, Afghanistan, Egypt. And when you see rapidly rising food prices, of course it leads to instability. We've seen [this] in the last five years across many of those countries, and you see rising food prices translate almost directly into street protests."

U.S. Drought and Rising Global Food Prices
Interviewee: Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program"
Council on Foreign Relations
Interviewer: Christopher Alessi
August 2, 2012
Origins of food | famines | food needs water & fuel | gasoline | electricity | corn uses | global consumption | Darfur | malnutrition | climate

  Currently famines exist in critical zones here in Niger, Somalia, & Pakistan's Thar desert.

 

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Fuel | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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Fuel is needed for water, planting, and harvesting crops, marketing and manufacture of food products, refrigeration, and sale of commodities.

Do you see indicators of fuel use in these depictions?

 

Food requires water and fuel.
     
     
transport?
African family carries water.
Guatemalans carrying firewood.
A horse needs no gasoline, Mexico.
     

• As seen in the photograph of a street in Chihuahua, Mexico (on the right above), in developing and western countries including Japan what most people throughout undeveloped parts of the world do is to walk extensive distances for their food, water, and fuel.

• More people in the US, Europe, Japan, and Australia use petrol or gasoline for transporting food as they use electricity to pump water and fossil fuels to supply cooking and heating needs.

Utility plant

Ample water surrounds this coal fire electrical generating plant in the south eastern United States.

 

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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Food requires electricity and gasoline in developed urban nations.

food

What is energy used for with refernce to food?

Farming: food energy for farmers in the form of petrol in the form of gas and diesel for farm equipment, petroleum products used to make synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.


√ Processing: powering buildings and operating machinery to cut, cook and/or freeze food.

√ Packaging: powering buildings and operating machinery to package foods, petroleum products used to make plastics.

√ Food retail: electricity to power store lights and refrigerators
Commercial food service.

√ Household storage and preparation: electricity to power fridge, microwave, stove, gas for stove or oven.

 

Origins of food | famines | food needs water & fuel | gasoline | electricity | corn uses | global consumption | Darfur | malnutrition | climate

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energy requires water

The world population is at an unprecedented level, despite women's revolutionary behavior in raising fewer children.

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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Food.

"Corn grain is one of the major foods of the world. Grains in general provide about 80 percent of the world food calories. Today there is a per capita shortage of grains and other foods, exacerbating the serious global malnourishment problem. The World Health Organization reports that 3.7 billion people are malnourished today—nearly 60 percent of the world population. This is the largest number of malnourished ever in history."

David Pimentel, "Corn Ethanol as Energy ", Harvard International Review, October 26, 2009.

 

David Pimentel, agronomic scientist at Cornell University, has argued for decades that the equivalent of ten calories of oil is necessary to get one calorie of food to an average American's table.

book David Pimentel, Ph.D., Marcia H. Pimentel, M.S. Food, Energy, and Society, Third Edition
CRC Press, 2007.

 

Origins of food | famines | food needs water & fuel | gasoline | electricity | corn uses | global consumption | Darfur | malnutrition | climate

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Consumption and production

Energy is related to consumption

Global food crisis, tracking site.

 

Food Price Watch, July 2012, peak explained.

Food prices 1960-2012, Worldwatch Institute

FAO - Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations' Food Price Index, FPI

 

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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Global consumption patterns depend on production.

Origins of food | famines | food needs water & fuel | gasoline | electricity | corn uses | global consumption | Darfur | malnutrition | climate

Agricultural production of countries compared.

Agricultural out put

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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Famine

13% of the world population is seriously malnourished and in need of food aid from overseas nations.

Famines in: Somalia and the SAHEL.

4 February 2014: Statement at Rome meeting says 2.5 million people need urgent assistance in region and 20 million are at risk of food insecurity.

Source: The Guardian.

Niger,

17 Mar 2014:  Celeste Hicks: By engaging communities and coordinating agency efforts, Niger hopes to end its perennial battle against food shortage

Source: see, The Guardian

Pakistan,

12 Mar 2014:  Authorities culpable over failure to provide Tharparkar region with adequate healthcare and infrastructure, claim NGOs. The "Tharparkar District, is one of the twenty three districts of Sindh province in Pakistan. It is headquartered at Mithi. It has the lowest Human Development Index of all the districts in Sindh." Human Development Report for 2014.

"NGOs in Pakistan say the death of at least 132 children in a drought in Sindh province might have been avoided had the government responded sooner. As government aid begins to arrive in the area, local activists have linked the crisis to long-term failures to provide proper health care and infrastructure in the region.

The deaths occurred in the Thar desert, part of Tharparkar district, some 350km (200 miles) from Karachi, which runs up to the border with India."

Source: see, The Guardian

 

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of
Origins of food | famines | food needs water & fuel | gasoline | electricity | corn uses | global consumption | Darfur | malnutrition | climate

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With petroleum selling at over $87.00 / barrel on 16 October 2007, the cost of food is rising sharply.

food prices

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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Famine and crop decline per capita are early warning signals.

"The world's croplands are in decline due to the pressure of human activities."

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, FAO tracks the international conditions that contribute to the ongoing crisis of food production, nutrition and cost of eating a healthy diet all of which contribute to the stability of countries.

"Over the next 15 years they will gradually cease depressing the growth in cereal demand, which is projected to recover, rising to 1.4 per cent a year by 2015.

Looking further ahead, slower population growth and the levelling off of food consumption in many countries will continue to dampen demand, the growth of which is expected to slow to 1.2 percent a year over the period 2015 to 2030. Nevertheless, the production task facing world agriculture is massive. By 2030, an extra billion tonnes of cereals will be needed each year. Unforeseeable events such as oil price booms, dramatic growth spurts or crises could, of course, alter effective demand over short periods, but will not greatly change the big picture."

Indeed, many have seen the relation among the rising cost of food and the civil unrest that has caused widespread government change in growing nations. The North African and West Asian revolutions referred to as the "Arab Spring," and the intractable three year civil war in Syria are all examples of ties to rapidly rising food prices and the inability of people in poverty to afford basic food to meet their minimum nutritional needs.

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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Direct

√ The sharp rise in fuel prices used to to pump water, plant, harvest, and transport food is the most obvious indicator of food insecurity.

√ The necessity to store and convert production of raw materials into food also requires water and energy.

 

Indirect

Both cropping practices and climate change induced loss of soil and decline in soil moisture are the initial stages in what turns out to be food insecurity.

 

Origins of food | famines | food needs water & fuel | gasoline | electricity | corn uses | global consumption | Darfur | malnutrition | climate

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Food aid.

Darfur
Also in sub Saharan Africa, Mali & Niger
Syria,
• A rural exodus as Drought takes hold of Syria: The Toronto Star
• How Climate Change Helped spark the Syrian Revolution, Arab Spring
South America
South Asia

850,000,000 people do not have adequate nutrition.

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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Population growth growth

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The 20th century began with a population of 1.6 billion people. We entered the 21st century with 6.1 billion people. And in 2007, world population is 6.6 billion. By 2012 the population was 7 Billion.

The increase in the size of the human population in the last half-century is unprecedented.

historic famines.

 

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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book Population Reference Bureau

International health and demographic data

US Census data

Malnutrition

Today over 27,000 children died for lack of food. More than 2 billion people worldwide suffer from deficiencies in micro nutrients (key vitamins and minerals). Thirty-seven percent of the world’s population suffers from anemia and 35 percent are at risk of iodine deficiency.

About 25 percent of preschool-age children suffer from vitamin A deficiency. At the same time, many experts believe there is an “epidemic of obesity,” with as many as one-third of men or women obese in some countries.

Malnutrition is an underlying factor in more than half the deaths of children under five. Malnutrition in children often begins at birth, when poorly nourished mothers give birth to underweight babies. Malnourished children develop more slowly, enter school later, and perform less well. The proportion of severely underweight children is falling, but less than two fifths of the 77 countries with adequate data to monitor trends are on track to reduce poor nutrition and related diseases.

   
Progress in reducing child malnutrition has been fastest in East Asia and Pacific, and South Asia. But many countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, lag far behind clearly illustrated in the following graph. Progress in reducing child malnutrition has been fastest in East Asia and Pacific, and South Asia. But many countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, lag far behind clearly illustrated in the following graph.
     
percentage of malnourished woman and child
   

Refugee camp in Darfur, South Sudan, Africa.

causes

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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Visualize
camps
Albrecht Durer

Darfur, Sudan:

Since 2003, hundreds of thousands of African Sudanese have been killed in the Darfur region of Sudan. This persecution has also driven another 2.2 million people, the majority of them women and children, into crowded camps that are scattered in arid areas with low fuel wood productivity. Venturing outside these boundaries in search of fuel to cook their meals often ends in violence against camp inhabitants.

Many meteorologists and climatologists have argued that a drastic alteration of climate over the Sahara Desert and Tropical convergence zones since the 1970s causing serious and prolonged droughts that have been at the root cause of this region from Eritrea to Mali inability to feed its growing population. An equally significant proximate cause of the problem of famine in Africa is the export of cereal and oil grains to European countries instead of growing food for domestic consumption.

 

Climate and land use practices: a volatile risk?

globe The loss of forests and rangelands creates refugees. With displacement due to declining rainfall, damaged soil, and declines in vegetation to capture moisture people begin to migrate away from the drought stricken areas. Refugees in Western Sudan are victims of the twin perils of war and famine due --in part – to changes in the rain belts in sub-Saharan Africa since the 1970s. These people have been displaced by Arab militias with the support of the central Sudanese government.

Deserts

Graphical sources for presentations.

 

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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Masai women in their village on the Mara plain in Kenya, East Africa [J.V. Siry, 1989].

Hear the Masai here!

What Causes Malnutrition?

globe

The immediate causes of a lack of proper and frequent nutrition are insufficient intake of food, and disease that makes it difficult to eat or to absorb food.

However, underlying causes of under nutrition include a lack of income to buy food; inadequate access to food; insufficient food supply due to poor distribution or drought, a lack of access to health services; an unhealthy environment or poor hygiene; and poor eating habits.

The risk of under nutrition is also especially high during fetal development and until about two years of age. Much of the damage under nutrition causes to physical and mental development during this period cannot be reversed.

Influence of famine on genes and epigenesis.

Population Reference Bureau.

Food costs, 2008.

Farm worker's pay.

Food price comparisons globally

 

Food | Graphics | Map | Famine | Food-need | Malnutrition | Refugees | Prices over 50 years | Causes of

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Origins of food | famines | food needs water & fuel | gasoline | electricity | corn uses | global consumption | Darfur | malnutrition | climate

Additional material

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This page was created on 16 October 2007 & revised June 21, 2013, & March 29, 2014 & February 7, 2016

– by J. Siry.

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Niger Pakistan Somalia