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Food scarcity

Discussion in 'Business, Investment and Economics' started by fergee, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. fergee

    fergee

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    An average human being can go 3minutes without air, 3 hours in extreme weather conditions with out shelter, 3 days with out water and 3 weeks with out food.

    This thread is for anecdotal and scientific measures of food scarcity and food price inflation.

    With an exponentially increasing global population, pollution, climate change, tariffs/subsidies and disease threatening our global food production supply chain I see this as a major risk both economically and socially and as such I think it deserves to monitored.

    In China we have recently seen the mass culling of swine due to disease and the outbreak of avian flu. America is experiencing a potato shortage due to extreme cold weather. Africa and the middle east are plagued with locusts and Australian farmers are battling drought and bush fires.

    Certain countries are using trade deals to "dump" food products on countries and effectively destroying local business and industries that cant compete. For example EU/China tomato production and its effect on Ghana.or the EU subsidising milk producers and then undercutting Aus and NZ farmers.

    For future reference: I am starting this thread in the middle of the Corona virus epidemic 09/02/2020.
     
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  2. Garpal Gumnut

    Garpal Gumnut

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    What a good thread @fergee to start.

    I am dusting off an old bush tucker book and making amends to the owner of the local fish and chip shop who I unwisely insulted for closing early due to lack of customers some weeks ago.

    gg
     
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  3. Sdajii

    Sdajii Sdaji

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    People have more food available to them than ever before. I don't think we're going to see any seriously dramatic issues due to things like milk subsidies; if dairy companies are outcompeted and go down, those businesses may suffer and certain countries may take an economic hit of some small relevance, but people don't need milk, they can just consume something else or buy their dairy products from the other company.

    When pigs are regionally slaughtered due to diseases concerns, prices will generally be tempered by associated drop in demand for pork, but if there is an imbalance either the demand reduction will exceed the culls resulting in cheap pork for a while, or demand reduction won't exceed it, meaning people sufficiently keen to eat pork will pay a little more and everyone else will eat chicken and fish for a while. It's really not that big a deal.

    The **** will hit the fan when an actual serious disaster means there isn't enough food to feed everyone. That will occur, but probably not in a gradual way. We are still in a situation where significantly more food is produced than required, meaning that a significant percentage is wasted, largely due to indifference (why bother trying to sell the least pretty 20% of the crop when no one will buy it? Just dump it. Why bother eating leftovers from 2 days ago when we can just get something fresh?).

    Food will probably become more expensive as the spare capacity is reduced, and at some stage, some actually significant issue will disrupt food production or distribution. A freak weather event stopping the monsoon season from happening in Asia, an all out war stopping distribution networks, a major state carrying out an attack on production and/or distribution, and then things will get interesting. Alternatively, if some major event wipes out a significant percentage of the world's human population, the food shortage may never happen.
     
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  4. Dona Ferentes

    Dona Ferentes

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    a bit of absolutist certainty here, but I reckon a functioning market economy does a lot better than centrally planned one, both in the basics (provision of food) and higher up the scale of achievement and happiness.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/01/arts/does-democracy-avert-famine.html
     
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  5. Value Collector

    Value Collector Have courage, and be kind.

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    As long as we have 70 Billion animals in factory farms being fed a large portion of the worlds crops I don’t think we can claim there is a food shortage.

    I mean feeding one person bacon, requires the amount of crops used to feed up to 10 people corn flakes.

    So if there is any “shortage”, it’s because we are feeding crops to chickens, pigs, cows etc in factory farms.
     
  6. Johny5

    Johny5

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    Soylent Green is the answer
     
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  7. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    The amount of food that supermarkets throw out as waste is mind boggling.

    Maybe more attention should be given to preserving foods better. Frozen vegs are just as good as fresh and they last longer for example.
     
  8. Dona Ferentes

    Dona Ferentes

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    Was there a question?
     
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  9. Johny5

    Johny5

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    Just kidding, Soylent Green is a Science fiction film where they euthanise people and process them into a food called Soylent Green, so it was the answer to the worlds food shortages. Sorry I know not in very good taste, but I couldn't resist.
     
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  10. basilio

    basilio

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    I think we feel a bit smug in our first world environments and seemingly able to buy whatever food we need.
    I suggest droughts, floods and extreme CC weather events could challenge these tidy assumptions. Not to mention swine flu knocking off the worlds pork supply.

    Having said that at the moment world food stocks are in an overall healthy position.
    http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/csdb/en/
     
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  11. Value Collector

    Value Collector Have courage, and be kind.

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    Yes.

    Even a decent chunk of the food that makes it into our homes and restaurants gets wasted, either expires before it’s cooked, or gets scrapped of the plate half eaten.
     
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  12. Value Collector

    Value Collector Have courage, and be kind.

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    Soy beans are one of the main food crops grown.

    But, Did you know that only 6% of Soy beans grown are eaten by Humans? The Majority are fed to animals, add to that the Corn, rice and other crops fed to animals and you can see that we don’t have a shortage of crop land, we are just wasting the crops we grow feeding animals.
     
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  13. basilio

    basilio

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    That is really significant isn't it ? Certainly opens the conversation about the effects of our diet on land use and pressure on resources.
     
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  14. Sdajii

    Sdajii Sdaji

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    There are some really good points made in this thread. We may have widespread famine one day, but probably not for a long time. If things get at all tricky we have so many ways to make things more efficient, most obviously by eating all the food we produce rather than throwing a large percentage of it away.

    I spend a lot of time in Asia, it's interesting when you're in a small town in Asia you often eat almost exclusively local food, often all produced in that province and much of it within a day's commute, but in my hometown of Melbourne it's common to have meals made of little if any food produced within Victoria, with the ingredients coming from multiple continents. Even a lot of unprocessed foods are imported from outside Australia.
     
  15. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    It all comes down to the number of people we have to feed though doesn't it ?

    More people, more animals to feed them, more crops to feed the animals, more land clearing to graze the herds and plant the crops more environmental degradation.

    There has to be a carrying capacity of any land area given its rainfall, soil type and suitability but no one seems to have studied this issue in depth, or if they have it's been swept under the carpet.
     
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  16. Value Collector

    Value Collector Have courage, and be kind.

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    Check out this short 56 second video to see the difference in land use needed to support a plant based diet vs Vegetarian with dairy and eggs vs meat eating omnivore

     
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  17. Sdajii

    Sdajii Sdaji

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    These figures are false. The vego folks use the most efficient forms of plant-based food land and water use and compare them to the least efficient forms of meat production. If we were to use the same style of cherry picking but in the favour of meat, we could actually 'prove' with equal validity that eating meat is more environmentally friendly.

    Just as some examples, we can either harvest fish from the ocean or not. Fish are there either way. People who hunt wild game are also using a resource which is there and can either be utilised or not. Even beef, the poster child of environmentalism, think about the fact that the majority of beef produced in Australia is farmed in the arid areas on which it is impossible to grow any plant crops. We can either use that land to produce beef (or we could farm kangaroos or camels or goats or other animals which do well in arid environments) or we can leave it to go completely unused. If we were to compare these to the most intensive forms of plant-based food production, or the least efficient, we would be able to say that eating meat is the environmentally responsible option.

    Of course, in reality, there are good and bad forms of both and it's not as simple as one entire category being good and the other bad. Without a doubt, the most efficient way to feed the world is not veganism. It is the most efficient forms of meat and plant production combined. It's sure as heck not these ultra processed, heavily packaged, unhealthy, vegan meat substitute nonsense foods the virtue signalers claim taste better than garbage.

    A far more genuine approach to efficient food choices would be to avoid processed and high mileage foods.
     
  18. Value Collector

    Value Collector Have courage, and be kind.

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    please show me the facts about how farming soybeans to feed to cattle and pigs is more efficient than using that same farmland to grow soybeans for tofu and other human foods.

    do a bit of research to find out how much amazon rainforest is being cleared to grow soybeans and other crops to feed cattle.

    do you really think the majority of steaks, bacon and chicken are coming from wild game? or that it would be even possible to feed the world from wild game cost effectively.

    and as for wild caught fish, well we already know that the oceans are struggling at their limit, we can’t really double the fish we take.
     
  19. Value Collector

    Value Collector Have courage, and be kind.

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    firstly you are ignoring the fact that cattle farmed in arid areas still normally spend the last 6 months of their life being fattened up in feed lots where they eat grain and soybeans.

    secondly, allowing the marginal areas to return to nature would actually be a good thing, as we wouldn’t need as much farm land.

    Also, if there is enough water for a heard of cattle to eat and drink, then you have more than enough water to run modern protected cropping such as this,

     
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