Up Next: Global Food Crisis?

Turns out Russia and Ukraine are sort of important if you like eating food

By Riley Waggaman, a Moscow-based writer and former “senior editor” at RT

With the biosecurity jackboot pressed against their necks, the meatshields of the world have been divided into two camps claiming to want the same thing: the liberation of the oppressed… in Ukraine.

But that’s neither here nor there.

Let’s talk about food, or more specifically: the soon-to-be lack of it.

As the plebes sling meaningless platitudes at each other on social media, a global food crisis is sneaking up on us. Can’t we all get along, and eat? This seems like a good compromise during these increasingly polarizing times.

Turns out Russia and Ukraine are sort of important in the Famine-Prevention Department. Unless there is a rapid U-turn on the world stage, food prices are going to go up. Way up. And that’s almost the best case scenario.

Let’s start with some numbers:

Roughly a third of world exports of barley come from Russia and Ukraine combined, 29 per cent of wheat, 19 per cent of maize, as well as 80 per cent of sunflower oil. Much of this is usually shipped through the Black Sea ports of Odesa, or Kherson.

Now imagine if a war—sorry, “not-war”—and an endless list of sanctions complicated the export of these agricultural products. Including fertilizers and crop nutrients—which Russia sends to farmers all over the world.

As an added bonus, imagine if it becomes more expensive to transport all this Russian and Ukrainian stuff—and everyone else’s stuff—because of soaring fuel prices.

No need to imagine anything, of course. Welcome to 2022. As the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade noted on March 4:

Due to the rapid growth of world gas prices, plants have reduced the production of fertilizers, which only increased the demand for Russian products on the global market…

Currently, a situation is emerging where, due to sabotage of deliveries by a number of foreign logistics companies, farmers in Europe and other countries cannot receive the contracted volumes of fertilizers. This creates obvious risks of crop failure and, as a result, food shortages for the countries of Western and Eastern Europe, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia.

Let’s briefly survey some of the damage.

Bastions of stability such as Egypt, Lebanon and Libya rely on Russian and Ukrainian wheat imports. Wheat stockpiles will likely prevent a catastrophic shortage in the short-term, but even a modest increase in the price of bread could be enough to trigger Mad Max Middle East.

But don’t feel left out if you live in Europe.

“Everything is going up vertically. The whole production chain for food is under pressure from every side,” Abdolreza Abbassian, the ex-head of agro-markets at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I have never seen anything like it in 30 years and I fear that prices are going to go much higher in the 2022-2023 season. The situation is just awful and at some point people are going to realise what may be coming. We’re all going to have to tighten our belts, and the mood could get very nasty even in OECD countries like Britain,” he said.

And let’s not forget Hamburgerland.

Earlier this week, a corn and soybean farmer told Tucker Carlson that “soaring fertilizer prices are likely to spike food prices” and predicted grocery bills will reach $1000 a month. He also warned of “empty shelf syndrome.”

Bloomberg literally describes the situation we’re facing as some sort of Malthusian dilemma (or opportunity?):

It’s hard to overstate the importance of fertilizer. The advent of synthetic ammonia fertilizers about a century ago is widely credited for helping food production keep pace with global population growth, freeing humankind from its Malthusian constraint. In that time, the planet’s population has gone from 1.7 billion to 7.7 billion, largely thanks to enormous growth in crop yields. Some experts have estimated that the global population might be half of what it is today without nitrogen fertilizer.

Ummmm.

There’s also trouble up ahead for the Russians (and your humble Moscow correspondent).

Import substitution was supposed to shield Russia from economic shenanigans. The policy has given a huge boost to Russian agriculture—but there’s a problem.

Apart from grains, Russia imports nearly all of its seeds. Yes, even potato seeds.

Sigh.

As one Russian farmer explained:

Today we buy seeds abroad, because during the Yeltsin era all seed funds were destroyed, and seed stations were closed,” said farmer Arkady Dudov. “It takes decades to revive all this… As a result, all our seeds are now Dutch and American. They sell us hybrids that we grow.

On February 1—ah, simpler times!—a senior Russian lawmaker described his country’s reliance on imported seeds as close to catastrophic:

5D potato seed chess.

This is on top of soaring inflation (not unique to Russia of course). Even before the non-war began, the prices of basic staples like buckwheat were exploding.

Truly painful for many Russians, especially pensioners.

Meanwhile, Russian agriculture is almost entirely dependent on imported equipment, creating further problems for farmers:

The ban on transactions with non-residents of the Russian Federation, as well as US and European sanctions regarding the termination of supplies of equipment to the Russian market, will create significant problems for domestic agricultural producers. Market participants declare an extremely high degree of dependence on imported equipment, consumables and components, which cannot be replaced by Russian analogues now. Experts note that while Russia is able to meet its own needs for basic products, however, given the current structure of production, problems may arise in the medium term.

It’s a bit of a mess.

As Russia’s top party-pooper noted the other day:

It is already clear how events are unfolding—the ground is being prepared for the disruption of this year’s sowing campaign. Here are military actions in Ukraine, here are hastily imposed restrictions on the supply of fertilizers, here are convulsive bans on food exports. They are just beginning, but according to the logic of things, they will become a landslide in just a month.

The crisis (and after it the delayed catastrophe) can affect several regions at once, with the Middle East and North Africa becoming the most significant and large-scale. Imbalances will lead to price spikes, panic and speculation in the food market. The price of wheat is already rising at a rapid pace. All this will result in a sharp rise in prices for basic socially important food products, and a well-known paradox will arise—with an excess of food, its consumption will be sharply reduced. According to various estimates, the catastrophe will cover macro-regions with a total population of 2 billion people.

That is why the “special operation” is a minor episode of little importance against the background of impending cataclysms. For those who are dying today on the territory of Ukraine, this, of course, is little consolation, but the position of the West looks extremely pragmatic. And, of course, cynical. The process has been launched, these nine days have launched the transition from one phase “epidemic” to another— “hunger”.

The fact that Ukraine and Russia have been used as a tool speaks not so much about the mind of the West, but about the impenetrable stupidity of the direct participants in the current competition.

Pretty much sums it up.

Source: Edward Slavsquat

10 Comments
  1. anon says

    Of course this is all just ‘coincidental’, even though it bears an uncanny resemblance to predictions from the WEF and Davos boys…..

    I’m sure they can get Monsanto and Bill to step in with their franken-foods to save the world, once they’ve killed off enough useless eaters that is…

    1. Ultrafart the Brave says

      You took the words right out of my mouth…

      Quoting from the article’s closing passage –

      The fact that Ukraine and Russia have been used as a tool speaks not so much about the mind of the West, but about the impenetrable stupidity of the direct participants in the current competition.

      … it also speaks volumes about the diabolical scheming and opportunistic involvement of psychotic f*cks like Klaus Schwab and his horde of globally entrenched stooges (like Trudeau, Ardern, Macron, Gates, Bezos, Zuckerberg just to put some well-known names to the otherwise hidden army of Klaus’ personally mentored “Young Global Leaders”).

      As Bill Gates would say, “sadly” (but he never ever actually means it), the eugenic fanaticism of the Young Global Leaders crowd, a great many of the participants in this aren’t “impenetrably stupid”, they’re all 100% onboard with the WEF’s Great Reset agenda and the New World Order where the 10% of us who manage to survive will own nothing, and “we will be happy”.

      At some point in the future, I’m looking forward to being able to say “Sadly, Klaus Schwab and Bill & Melinda Gates and about 10,000 other Globalist psychos were publicly executed for crimes against humanity just the other day”. But just like Bill Gates, I won’t really mean it.

  2. drb says

    Surely the Chinese are building and selling good tractors, seeders ad combines by now. Yes, it is quite reasonable that the situation with Europe will normalize within the year. We are in a phase of acute world depopulation and if it weren’t this, it would be something else. Those that will do worse will be marginal countries like Sri Lanka, Yemen, Lebanon. Although the latter two are allies, and the former could well offer Russia-China a naval base. Pakistan has been moving aggressively towards Russia, sensing a great danger ot its nationhood.

  3. ken says

    Not sure what to do with articles like this. Are we supposed to run out and buy everything we can get our hands on? That will just empty the shelves sooner. Should we attack those causing this? 80% of the planet are unarmed. The 20% of Molon Labe’s left pretty much just talk the talk. (I’m bad… I’m bad, (lol)) Providing a common defense is not in their nature and even if they did form small groups,,, with poor leadership they’d likely end up like those poor bastards at Waco or Falluja. The only thing better than sex to those in charge of governments is killing we the people. It’s multiple orgasmic. Just read a little history.

    This time “they” want to kill off billions and they don’t care how the billions die,,, war is fine,,, so is starvation but preferably in intense pain and misery as the forced injections intentionally provide.

    Mister Slavsquat speaks of impenetrable stupidity, IMO he is mistaken. “They” are not stupid,,, “they” are satanic. Maybe you think God and Satan are myths but “they” believe they are real. History has shown ‘satanic’ has to be killed whether it’s a silver bullet or a stake through the heart. It sure as hell cannot be voted away.

    Slowly but surely throughout history “they” have always used fiat money to buy their power. Today is the same,,, “They” get the loyalty of the military and police through paychecks. Some police in Australia have actually admitted this. The police/military will incarcerate/kill their own parents if ordered. (that’s the kind of being we are) “They” have/are destroyed/destroying economies in various ways where it is next to impossible to earn a living. The covaids bs over the last two years is a fine example. Now we allow them to decide which businesses (and jobs) are essential and which are not.

    When we protest we tell each other it has to be peaceful and law abiding,,, by “their” rules,,, while they beat, kill, burn, and confiscate our bank accounts. You know “they” got to get a chuckle out of that.

    This time it could be a civilization extinction event. A the very least back to the stone age. It will take a unity of the worlds people as never before and some very dedicated and smart people to overcome this which I don’t think exist. For those of us that believe,,, pray God saves us before we incinerate ourselves and the planet.

    1. Ultrafart the Brave says

      Not sure what to do with articles like this.

      The first step in dealing with a problem is to understand that we have a problem.

      … pray God saves us before we incinerate ourselves and the planet.

      FWIW, if a dog goes rogue down on the farm, the farmer shoots it.

  4. guest says

    There is no food crisis.
    Kennel-dwellers in the United States (of America) spend $40,000,000,000 a year on dog-food, and another $60,000,000,000 on dog-dentists and dog-hair-dressers.

    The situation in the United States (of Europe) is about the same.

    We cannot speak of “food crisis” as long as there are more dogs than children, and they are fed (in stead of consumed).

    Perhaps, the degenerates will come to their senses and instead of manicured front lawn they will have a chicken-yard (and a few pigs in the back).

    1. Ultrafart the Brave says

      That’s a very insightful set of observations.

      Perhaps the looming crisis has more to do with priorities than absolutes. That is probably a valid argument on a societal scale.

      On the other hand, the entrenched production, supply and logistic structures in many (most?) Western countries does imply that the food supply to the teeming city-dwelling hordes can be disrupted for a long time, maybe many months or even years (and this is the objective of the Globalists with their creative destruction to “Build Back Better”).

      So if things don’t go well, then even all those pampered dogs might be going on an extended and involuntary diet program.

  5. GERALD says

    beware of fearmongering from ALL fronts!

  6. Cap960 says

    People will have to eat more rice! Lots of this you can do with rice. Lots!

  7. Maiasta says

    A really good article, Marko & Slavsqat. Touches on all the right points. In the comments section, people have asked what we are “supposed to do” with an article like this. Storing up on non-perishables is definitely one thing we all should. And anyone who is able should start planting on any available farmland, or even set up indoor, urban food beds.

    Here is some more via Zero Hedge. Contains a good video analysis by Ice Age Farmer:

    Russia To Ban Fertilizer Exports To ‘Not Friendly’ Countries; China Warns US Against Retaliation

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