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Vulnerable ‘chokepoints’ threaten global food supply
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Lord Beria3



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:50 pm    Post subject: Vulnerable ‘chokepoints’ threaten global food supply Reply with quote

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/27/vulnerable-chokepoints-threaten-global-food-supply-warns-report
Quote:

Increasingly vulnerable “chokepoints” are threatening the security of the global food supply, according to a new report. It identifies 14 critical locations, including the Suez canal, Black Sea ports and Brazil’s road network, almost all of which are already hit by frequent disruptions.

With climate change bringing more incidents of extreme weather, analysts at the Chatham House thinktank warn that the risk of a major disruption is growing but that little is being done to tackle the problem. Food supply interruptions in the past have caused huge spikes in prices which can spark major conflicts.

The chokepoints identified are locations through which exceptional amounts of the global food trade pass. More than half of the globe’s staple crop exports – wheat, maize, rice and soybean – have to travel along inland routes to a small number of key ports in the US, Brazil and the Black Sea. On top of this, more than half of these crops – and more than half of fertilisers – transit through at least one of the maritime chokepoints identified.


https://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/chokepoints-vulnerabilities-global-food-trade

Quote:
Trade chokepoints – maritime, coastal and inland – pose an underexplored and growing risk to global food security.

Maritime chokepoints will become increasingly integral to meeting global food supply as population growth, shifting dietary preferences, bioenergy expansion and slowing improvements in crop yields drive up demand for imported grain.

Rising trade volumes, increasing dependence on imports among food-deficit countries, underinvestment, weak governance, climate change and emerging disruptive hazards together make chokepoint disruptions – both small-scale and large-scale – increasingly likely.

Climate change will have a compounding effect on chokepoint risk, increasing the probability of both isolated and multiple concurrent weather-induced disturbances.

Investment in infrastructure lags demand growth: critical networks in major crop-producing regions are weak and ageing, and extra capacity is urgently needed.


I think you will start seeing more of this as global networks start to breakdown next decade, as the world starts to get buffeted by the emerging limits to growth crisis.
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Little John



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the primary foundation of my attitude to inward migration policy to this country
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clv101
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Food security is an interesting exercise in boundaries.

The UK does not produce enough food to feed everyone here, by a long shot. But the EU produces more than enough. The more closely bound the various countries in EU are, the more and easier trade we can expect so food security shouldn't be a major issue.

The other thing to note about food production the EU is how the amount we spend on food, as a proportion of household income, has been falling for years. This suggests we could pay a lot more for food than we currently do - allowing food to outcompete bio-fuel production and for more money to be available for capital investment and labour.

Europe can feed itself, and if we were willing to pay more for food, production could be increased still further.

Shame the UK is leaving this food secure area!
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
But the EU produces more than enough.


Through heavy subsidies, so we really do pay more than the shop price suggests (and then there's the non-costed environmental costs). Then there's cheap, environmentally-disrupting surpluses dumped on, sorry, exported to, other poorer places, leading to job loss, corruption and climate change, leading to mass migration to surplus-producing countries...

Interesting boundary exercise indeed. Laughing
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fuzzy



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

England could be much closer to feeding itself with land reform, but whose going to throw the parasites out?
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please tell us how? Is it the usual let's plunder everywhere solution? There are other beings that have a place on this planet other than the incredibly selfish humans, of which there are far too many on the planet.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodburner wrote:
Please tell us how?


In my part of the world, west wales, there are vast acres of 'green desert'. Monoculture grass mowed to the last inch by sheep. The ecological and biodiversity value of this landscape is low.

This same land could both produce a lot more 'yield' in terms of human food and increase its ecological value if we farmed in a better way.

See this thread from a while back:
http://www.powerswitch.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26153
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Little John



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We farmed the arse off this country between 1939 and 1945. Our population was just over half what it is now. And we came close to running out of food.

We now have nearly twice the population. Our lands have been farmed to death and can only sustain present yields on the back of the annual application of hydrocarbon based fertilisers which we must import along with much of the other energy inputs including, not least, diesel for farm machinery.

If international supply chains were to be suddenly cut today, we would be starving in a month. If they were to be cut slowly, we would be starving in a year.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This from The Land Magazine a decade ago is interesting reading on the subject:
http://www.thelandmagazine.org.uk/sites/default/files/can_britain_feed_itself.pdf
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fuzzy



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little John wrote:
We farmed the arse off this country between 1939 and 1945. Our population was just over half what it is now. And we came close to running out of food.

We now have nearly twice the population. Our lands have been farmed to death and can only sustain present yields on the back of the annual application of hydrocarbon based fertilisers which we must import along with much of the other energy inputs including, not least, diesel for farm machinery.

If international supply chains were to be suddenly cut today, we would be starving in a month. If they were to be cut slowly, we would be starving in a year.



Yes I have read that too. As Chris correctly points out, most of the UK beyond the high profit areas is hardly farmed at all, because of cheaper imports. There is very little farming in the North of the UK because it is not economic. That is partly because the majority of people do not own their own land. UK and western world farming is based on land ownership by force, supported by inheritance and the legal system. If your family had 10 acres, you could do more than the EU subsidised 'set aside', rape growing and tree felling gentry. You have noticed that we didn't have polytunnels in 39 - 45? Most of the planet does not apply synthetic fertiliser.
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Farming" is usually interpreted by the greedy blinkered capitalists as meaning "arable". This is narrow minded and ill considered. The only reason it could be commercial at present is the fossil fuel input in the form of fertiliser and machinery fuel. The next major problem is the damage to the soil structure. It has happened in most systems in the world, agruculture = terminal soil damage.

For clv101's perception of sheep pasture being monoculture green desert, are you really telling us that you cannot understand that this is a minimum damage food generator? The fuel input is mostly solar power, and the meat is sought by customers in Europe as it is good quality, while they sell the UK their rubbish because no self respecting Frenchman would est it by choice. Agreed it may not be high output, but the problem is not insufficient output but an excessive human population.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMHO, the greater problem is potentially a coming overall insufficiency of food production, resulting in large scale shortages and hunger even in relatively rich countries.

Localised "choke points" affecting transport are in my view less of a problem. Closed roads, ports and the like are fairly easy to deal with by use of alternative routes, or by military force to re-open facilities etc.

Roads that are impassable can be rebuilt, and will be if significant food exports are at risk. Either the exporter will see to it rather than lose money by holding up exports, or the importer will so as not to suffer shortages.

If ports are closed, there is usually an alternative route even if this is less convenient, or of course military action.
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the shortage was a few % I would agree, but for the UK it's 50%, and a lot of it is the wrong kind of food anyway. Carbohydrates and polyunsaturated oils.
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vtsnowedin



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect that the only reason much of the farmland in the UK is not in production is that it can't compete on price with the alternatives from Canada, Australia ,and the USA, corn and wheat belts. As soon as those alternatives are no longer available so a farmer in the UK can turn a profit on his ground you will see the food coming in as needed.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodburner wrote:
For clv101's perception of sheep pasture being monoculture green desert, are you really telling us that you cannot understand that this is a minimum damage food generator? The fuel input is mostly solar power, and the meat is sought by customers in Europe as it is good quality, while they sell the UK their rubbish because no self respecting Frenchman would est it by choice. Agreed it may not be high output, but the problem is not insufficient output but an excessive human population.



Forgive me, woodburner, but that comes across as an odd position. On one hand defending sheep grazing, which destroys any chance of wildlife habitat (re)generation and on the other saying there's not enough wildlife habitat. Just saying.
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