By Indrani Chanda:
We all know of this saying: ‘‘For the sake of survival, man needs three things in life- food, clothing and a house“.Â But every single time, man has to fight with the environment to attain all of the above. Such is the situation that the world is in now; on the verge of a massive food crisis and there is nothing really that we can do about it.
The worst drought in the United States in the last 50 years has broken down the food market, the farmers’ situation has become worse than ever before and the food prices have sky-rocketed. Crops such as wheat, soy, corn have been destroyed because of high temperatures and shortage of rainfall. Violence also made its way because of the lack of food coupled with several hungry mouths. Warnings about incoming riots for the nation’s social stability depend on the US corn import. Subsidizing the farmers has been considered as a solution, but is it really one? Paying the farmers insurance is not so easy for the US Government when the food production prices are very high.
Agricultural subsidies from the US and the European Union have been blamed for undermining farmers in the developing world. The debate is taking a long time to come to a close and pronounce a final decision. The United States accounted for 39 percent of global trade of corn in 2011-2012. Stockpiles are now down by 48 percent according to the US Department of agriculture. Corn prices have shot up to 60 percent since the 15th of June.
The same has happened in North and South Korea, Indonesia, South Africa and places like Jordan, The Balkans and now India. In Jordan, even a single pound of chicken costs $5 when the normal income of a lower middle-class family is around $400. People from Syria and Libya claimed that they had to live on the same beans every day. In South Africa, the imported maize now comes for a price that is 40 percent higher than it’s original. In North and South Korea, food prices increased by 20-30 percent because of these incidences of droughts. Indonesia, despite being described as a wealthy country as far as food is concerned, is facing this problem.
India, which has never felt the crisis for food owing to the fact that it had in its casket an overflowing amount of wheat, rice and corn, faced the problem because of shortage of rain. It has also largely affected the animal farms because they depended greatly on corn.
There were accusations against the IMD for not predicting the monsoon failure in advance but as Andrew Robertson, a scientist at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society told Al Jazeera, ”it is very difficult for climatologists to develop an accurate seasonal forecast, the one with a high degree of certainty’‘. This happens to be a true fact.
The looming food crisis which has spread all over the world is one instance which shows that although we have come up with several modern scientific technologies, but there still remains this big burden over our heads and that is the weather which we can predict using the methods we have developed, but cannot fight against it. We are therefore helpless when the forces of nature come to play. We are humans, after all.