Wheat is a staple grain across the planet. Even though the population across the world has increased in the past 50 years, global hunger remains a major issue waiting for solutions despite capitalism. During the past centuries, people of a region with bad harvests would have been deprived of food. However, international trade between 1840 and 1910 changed the course of global trade in grains.
Currently, less than half the food we eat is bought in by import or export. Crop failures due to climatic changes can be handled effectively now by getting them from regions with a good harvest.
The El Nina climatic effect on food harvest
Production output in American soya and cornfields gets less due to the La Nina climate cycle, but it is more in the Asian countries as per the information stated in Business Standard.
The El Nino cycle reduces wheat production in Australia and US and increases in Russia and China. Bengal and Indonesia have increased rice production, whereas China and Mainland Southeast Asia suffer during this cycle.
As long as the nations that depend on food imports have funds to pay, people will not go hungry. But it misleads us. Despite advanced methods of trade, we are majorly dependent on food from the US, South America, Indo-Gangetic Plain, and eastern China.
When extreme climatic conditions bar few regions from exporting food, our dependence on others increases. We are left to fend for ourselves with food items of previous years available in the imported stock.
Current world situation in terms of food
A report published in Business Standard states that, India has put a hold on its wheat exports to take care of its food scarcity after a tough pre-monsoon heatwave that battered the winter harvest. But the entire world is dependent on food grains from India due to the current war situation between Russia and Ukraine, the drought in Argentina, and floods in Australia.
China, the world’s largest wheat consumer and producer, has been stocking up its wheat produce due to its disturbing relations with other food-exporting regions. Spring red wheat in Chicago has grown expensive and reached a 14-year high in March.
Expectations to balance the food scarcity in one place with food imports are normal. But the constantly changing climatic conditions due to excessive rainfall or drought have resulted in problems all over. The wheat export condition is at an all-time low in Australia due to intense rainfall, washing away the seeds and crops.
Moreover, political issues affect the import and export of a region. Ties connecting Russia, China, and Ukraine are already fragile due to geographical issues, and this has a significant impact on the global food system. Besides, the current La Nina phase is also not allowing the previous year’s crop supply to get stocked.