The Looming food crisis is real, very real….

March 10, 2012

One of the toughest things to do is to predict what will happen in the foreseeable future. Typically when we are asked to project the future, we do so by extrapolating from trends in the past. The governing logic appears to be: past performance will determine future performance. Most of the time this approach is fab, but sometimes it’s no good.

Now you know why the world found itself blindsided by the subprime crisis and by ten more that followed thereafter. Let’s face it, man is just lousy at predicting the future.

Today I worked through some math equations to try to extrapolate the future of mankind – I wanted to find out whether it was true that we are facing the biggest food crisis in human history – I find it hard to believe this and nothing that I seem to read these days can either confirm or deny this. So there I was working it all out. First I took the world population and inversed it with the number of people who are regularly dying off – then I compounded this percentage and compared it against the worlds surface area that has been designated for either agriculture or arable farming – what started off as just a few lines on a napkin took on a much larger scaled picture by the time, I had finished off 10 pages of calculations.

I may be wrong, but I could also be right – based on my calculations, the world will face a food crunch five years down the line. For most of us, the idea that civilization itself could disintegrate just because of food probably seems preposterous. If I said, the end will come in a terrorist nuclear bomb or an alien invasion from outer space it would probably sound more believable. Who would not find it hard to think seriously about such a complete departure from what we expect of ordinary life. We are so inured to take something as mundane and everyday as food for granted; we do not even think where that fish, bread or for that matter where all those condiments come from – as a consequence we are programmed to dismiss them as things that will always be with us.

But even as we speak abt the looming food crisis – many of us have failed to register the disturbing global agricultural, population, environmental and economic that have combined to create many of the political tensions and breakdown of governments that we so often see whenever we turn on our TV. I, too, have resisted the idea that food shortages could bring down not only individual governments but also our global civilization.

But facts are facts. I can no longer ignore that risk. Our continuing failure to deal with the looming food crunch by ignoring environmental declines that are undermining the world food economy forces me to conclude that such a collapse is now not just a theoretical possibility but a real and present danger. Meanwhile back home, govt’s should consider designating certain necessaries such as cooking oil, rice, flour, sugar, milk powder as controlled items – I do not believe it is possible to leave these items to the vagaries of the free market any longer. Someone needs to get off their fat backsides and look very closer at the looming food crisis.

I have so much work to do and so little time.

Darkness 2012

“We take cooking oil for granted. Because when we fly over oil palm plantations, all we see are neat rows of efficient producing trees – but this scene is deceptive – as many of these crops are already in their second or third rotation. Many of these plantations will eventually suffer from reduced yield as the land has a way of rebelling against man when he tries to plant the same type of crop again and again – and nature being nature has a perverse sense of humor, she has a habit of unraveling man’s plan surreptitiously – third rotation crops are susceptible to ganoderma and it is fatal, there remains no cure to date. What is required to redress this imbalance is the creation of a new strain of palm – one that may be a hybrid tissue culture typology that is hardier and more resilient to soil tempered diseases. The guilds recognizing this imminent danger has funded programs to develop a new strain – todate, we have close to 10,000 saps, of this number less than 2% show promise in the first year; in the preceding year, this figure narrowed to less than 0.01% – we have failed, except for three remaining saps – but even then the prospects look dim – very dim indeed. We would all have to work harder it seems. And Gentlemen, need I say – time is not on our side.”


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