The United Nations’ food agency issued an alert on Tuesday warning that a severe drought was threatening the wheat crop in China, the world’s largest wheat producer, and resulting in shortages of drinking water for people and livestock.
China has been essentially self-sufficient in grain for decades, for national security reasons. Any move by China to import large quantities of food in response to the drought could drive international prices even higher than the record levels recently reached.
My biggest concern is that such droughts could trigger another world food crisis. Of course, you can’t evaluate how likely that scenario is, because there’s no mention of the food crisis of ’07 and ’08. People in the U.S. are more or less completely oblivious that for most of the developing the world, economic catastrophe started before the ’08 financial crisis. The ’07-’08 food crisis is one of the biggest unreported stories of our times. That’s not going to change anytime soon with our current media.