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Catastrophic Fall in 2009 Global Food Production

January 1, 2009 No Comment

By Eric deCarbonnelle, February 2009

After reading about the droughts in two major agricultural countries, China and
Argentina, I decided to research the extent other food producing nations were also
experiencing droughts. This project ended up taking a lot longer than I thought. 2009
looks to be a humanitarian disaster around much of the world.

After reading about the droughts in two major agricultural countries, China and
Argentina, I decided to research the extent other food producing nations were also
experiencing droughts. This project ended up taking a lot longer than I thought. 2009
looks to be a humanitarian disaster around much of the world.

Now, consider the same graphic with the countries experiencing droughts highlighted.

The countries that make up two thirds of the world’s agricultural output are
experiencing drought conditions. Whether you watch a video of the drought in China,
Australia, Africa, South America, or the US , the scene will be the same: misery,
ruined crop, and dying cattle.1

1. China
The drought in Northern China, the worst in 50 years, is worsening, and summer
harvest is now threatened. The area of affected crops has expanded to 161 million mu
(was 141 million last week), and 4.37 million people and 2.1 million livestock are
facing drinking water shortage. The scarcity of rain in some parts of the north and
central provinces is the worst in recorded history.

The drought which started in November threatens over half the wheat crop in eight
provinces – Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Shandong, Shaanxi and Gansu.

Henan
China’s largest crop producing province, Henan, has issued the highest-level drought
warning. Henan has received an average rainfall of 10.5 millimeters since November
2008, almost 80 percent less than in the same period in the previous years. The Henan
drought, which began in November, is the most severe since 1951.

Anhui
Anhui Province issued a red drought alert, with more than 60 percent of the crops
north of the Huaihe River plagued by a major drought.

Shanxi
Shanxi Province was put on orange drought alert on Jan. 21, with one million people
and 160,000 heads of livestock are facing water shortage.

Jiangsu
Jiangsu province has already lost over one fifth of the wheat crops affected by
drought. Local agricultural departments are diverting water from nearby rivers in an
emergency effort to save the rest.

Hebei
Over 100 million cubic meters of water has been channeled in from outside the
province to fight Hebei’s drought.

Shaanxi
1.34 million acres of crops across the bone-dry Shanxi province are affected by the
worsening drought.

Shandong
Since last November, Shandong province has experienced 73 percent less rain than
the same period in previous years, with little rainfall forecast for the future.

Relief efforts are under way. The Chinese government has allocated 86.7 billion yuan
(about $12.69 billion) to drought-hit areas. Authorities have also resorted to cloudseeding,
and some areas received a sprinkling of rain after clouds were hit with 2,392
rockets and 409 cannon shells loaded with chemicals. However, there is a limit to
what can be done in the face of such widespread water shortage.

As I have previously written, China is facing hyperinflation , and this record drought
will make things worse. China produces 18% of the world’s grain each year.

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