20 Signs That A Horrific Global Food Crisis Is Coming

ilene's picture

20 Signs That A Horrific Global Food Crisis Is Coming

Courtesy of Michael Snyder, Economic Collapse 

In case you haven't noticed, the world is on the verge of a horrific global food crisis.  At some point, this crisis will affect you and your family.  It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, but it is going to happen.  Crazy weather and horrifying natural disasters have played havoc with agricultural production in many areas of the globe over the past couple of years.  Meanwhile, the price of oil has begun to skyrocket. 

The entire global economy is predicated on the ability to use massive amounts of inexpensive oil to cheaply produce food and other goods and transport them over vast distances.  Without cheap oil the whole game changes.  Topsoil is being depleted at a staggering rate and key aquifers all over the world are being drained at an alarming pace.  Global food prices are already at an all-time high and they continue to move up aggressively.  So what is going to happen to our world when hundreds of millions more people cannot afford to feed themselves?

Most Americans are so accustomed to supermarkets that are absolutely packed to the gills with massive amounts of really inexpensive food that they cannot even imagine that life could be any other way. Unfortunately, that era is ending.

There are all kinds of indications that we are now entering a time when there will not be nearly enough food for everyone in the world.  As competition for food supplies increases, food prices are going to go up.  In fact, at some point they are going to go way up.

Let's look at some of the key reasons why an increasing number of people believe that a massive food crisis is on the horizon.

The following are 20 signs that a horrific global food crisis is coming....

#1 According to the World Bank, 44 million people around the globe have been pushed into extreme poverty since last June because of rising food prices.

#2 The world is losing topsoil at an astounding rate.  In fact, according to Lester Brown, "one third of the world's cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming through natural processes".

#3 Due to U.S. ethanol subsidies, almost a third of all corn grown in the United States is now used for fuel.  This is putting a lot of stress on the price of corn.

#4 Due to a lack of water, some countries in the Middle East find themselves forced to almost totally rely on other nations for basic food staples.  For example, it is being projected that there will be no more wheat production in Saudi Arabia by the year 2012.

#5 Water tables all over the globe are being depleted at an alarming rate due to "overpumping".  According to the World Bank, there are 130 million people in China and 175 million people in India that are being fed with grain with water that is being pumped out of aquifers faster than it can be replaced.  So what happens once all of that water is gone?

#6 In the United States, the systematic depletion of the Ogallala Aquifercould eventually turn "America's Breadbasket" back into the "Dust Bowl".

#7 Diseases such as UG99 wheat rust are wiping out increasingly large segments of the world food supply.

#8 The tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis in Japan have rendered vast agricultural areas in that nation unusable.  In fact, there are many that believe that eventually a significant portion of northern Japan will be considered to beuninhabitable.  Not only that, many are now convinced that the Japanese economy, the third largest economy in the world, is likely to totally collapse as a result of all this.

#9 The price of oil may be the biggest factor on this list.  The way that we produce our food is very heavily dependent on oil.  The way that we transport our food is very heavily dependent on oil.  When you have skyrocketing oil prices, our entire food production system becomes much more expensive.  If the price of oil continues to stay high, we are going to see much higher food prices and some forms of food production will no longer make economic sense at all.

#10 At some point the world could experience a very serious fertilizer shortage.  According to scientists with the Global Phosphorus Research Initiative, the world is not going to have enough phosphorous to meet agricultural demand in just 30 to 40 years.

#11 Food inflation is already devastating many economies around the globe.  For example, India is dealing with an annual food inflation rate of 18 percent.

#12 According to the United Nations, the global price of food reached a new all-time high in February.

#13 According to the World Bank, the global price of food has risen 36%over the past 12 months.

#14 The commodity price of wheat has approximately doubled since last summer.

#15 The commodity price of corn has also about doubled since last summer.

#16 The commodity price of soybeans is up about 50% since last June.

#17 The commodity price of orange juice has doubled since 2009.

#18 There are about 3 billion people around the globe that live on the equivalent of 2 dollars a day or less and the world was already on the verge ofeconomic disaster before this year even began.

#19 2011 has already been one of the craziest years since World War 2.  Revolutions have swept across the Middle East, the United States has gotten involved in the civil war in Libya, Europe is on the verge of a financial meltdown and the U.S. dollar is dying.  None of this is good news for global food production.

#20 There have been persistent rumors of shortages at some of the biggest suppliers of emergency food in the United States.  The following is an excerpt from a recent "special alert" posted on Raiders News Network....

Look around you. Read the headlines. See the largest factories of food, potassium iodide, and other emergency product manufacturers literally closing their online stores and putting up signs like those on Mountain House's Official Website and Thyrosafe's Factory Webpage that explain, due to overwhelming demand, they are shutting down sales for the time being and hope to reopen someday.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that time is short.

For years, many "doom and gloomers" have been yelling and screaming that a food crisis is coming.

Well, up to this point there hasn't been much to get alarmed about.  Food prices have started to rise, but the truth is that our stores are still packed to the rafters will gigantic amounts of relatively cheap food.

However, you would have to be an idiot not to see the warning signs.  Just look at what happened in Japan after March 11th.  Store shelves were cleared out almost instantly.

It isn't going to happen today, and it probably isn't going to happen tomorrow, but at some point a major league food crisis is going to strike.

So what are you and your family going to do then?

You might want to start thinking about that.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Bodda Boom's picture

In the 1980s, underrated economist Julian Simon debated a neo-Malthusian anti-free market opponent whom- like so many here- predicted nothing good ahead for the world or humanity. While the pundit claimed extinction would be our lot prior to our current year, Simon had faith in the ability of people to find new and innovative ways to overcome shortages, market roadblocks, and over-regulation. Since all has been "doom and gloom" here and in virtually all other outlets lately, it compels me to interject that sage wisdom of the late Mr. Simon. HIS vision of the future came to fruition while his opponent became so moot that his name is no longer even memorable.

Zero Govt's picture

We're doomed, doomed, doomed !!!

We have energy, food, water and resources coming out of our ears worldwide. The only problem are the dickheads that think we have a problem (ie. they are the problem). Wake me up when these shills, trolls and loonies shut up (yawn)

mtomato2's picture

Yeah.  You're right.  It's the "dickheads" who THINK we have the problem...  They're the ones pushing oil to 120, depleting the Ogallala aquifer, and setting the Mid-East on fire.  /Sarcasm the fuck OFF!/

It couldn't possibly be the saviors who are engineering problems left and right, could it?

I used to be one of you until I woke up to the fact that you can turn a massive ship with a tiny rudder.  Whether these specific issues are problems or not, the world is being steered in a collision course with something never before seen.  At least not on a scale of this magnitude.  This is being done by exploiting either the perception or the reality of these potentially problematic issues by the powers that be.  Your simplistic analysis is pathetic.  What's  going to wake you up will be a literal or figurative banging on your door by a system that has systematically removed your right to be human.  At least in the way we have defined it for the past two-hundred or so years.

panika2008's picture

"engineering problems", uhm, like the bad, bad people who invented railroads, airplanes, computers, permanent shelter, water purification, food preservation or antibiotics... Damn, should they have been burned, we'd be sooo much happier without those "problems", living the merry life of neolithic hunters-gatherers, praying every day not to die of hunger or the some mundane illness.

mtomato2's picture



Too bad this thread is dead.  It's lunchtime here, and I need something to devour.

Arch Duke Ferdinand's picture

Five Reasons Why Canada's Four Western Provinces is the Safest Quadrant on this Planet...


Cone of Uncertainty's picture

Meanwhile, don't worry about food prices, because Bernanke is going to start holding press conferences.

He'll explain everything.


Cone of Uncertainty's picture

One word for you bitches:


Bubba Schwartz's picture

Bubba sez: You betcha, this has been going on for decades.  We were supposed to be out of oil and food long ago.  What the academics can't quantify is human ingenuity.  If the fiat currency collapses, something must emerge to replace it.  That's because economies exist for humans to TRADE, and trading will continue.


PMs, food and water are good insurance policies -- my estimate is keep 6 months worth around....keep bartering goods on hand, too.  Don't forget the distilled medicines ;-). 


Now, if I could just ditch this darned job that puts me in some of the wrong places of the planet...I hope this doesn't tank when I'm in Kinshasha...

jkruffin's picture

So, why don't we sell water to the Saudi's for $140 a barrel or even exchange for oil?  Sounds good to me.

monopoly's picture

Well done. Few will talk about this until  it is too late. We are taking steps Now.

Thunder Dome's picture

The poor will be culled.  That's all.

johnrandi's picture

There's going to be plenty of water in a few years.  Ever heard of expanding earth theory?  Even Finn and Jake mention it on Adventure Time.  Doesn't T Boone own a big part of this aquifier?

John Law Lives's picture

This article touches on data that affects real people.  Wall Street only cares about corporate profits and easy money from the Fed.  They don't care if you starve to death.

I am Jobe's picture

Eat your IPADS bitchez.

Popo's picture

Does this mean Americans and Europeans will be less fat?

Sneeve's picture

Sorry Bubba, we Europeans are way behind in the race to Fatness.

Zero Govt's picture

ever been to Scotland?

DOT's picture

Don't panic until the Acres Planted Info comes out in July.  Then you can panic. 



Got Food ?

Sullie1967's picture

Why do you think the federal gov't has been centralizing power for years?  They have seen this problem coming and already have a plan, Soylent Green.

They_Live's picture

Yeah, but you can't eat...oh, sorry, wrong thread.

panika2008's picture

No numbers, just hearsay. Hearsay that's been constantly present in certain circles since at least 1970s.


And no, skyrocketing oil prices won't normally cause global famine. Oil price is just a small part of the cost of food (tell me, how much oil does a tractor burn to sow, fertilize and harvest an acre of land that produces over a ton of wheat? Hint: normally no more than 7-10 gallons; how much does it cost to transport food with trucks over several hundred miles? Normally not more than 5% of that food's cost; how much natgas - notoriously plentiful resource, unlike oil - is needed to produce nitrogen fertilizer for an acre of crop land? Hint: no more than 500 m3 per ton of dry ammonia in modern plants; with the decade low natgas price of ~4.2$/m3 and mostly falling it does not look that catastrophic now, does it?).


Well, at least until your government starts pushing biofuels with subsidies. The single most dangerous and homicidal practice.

hardcleareye's picture

Pan, perhaps you should go back and do a bit more investigation on the total calories required (energy) to produce food versus the end calories produced.  Producing grain, corn and wheat are one consideration, but what really slams the nails in the coffin in your argument is the production of animal protein and process foods. 

I haven't finished my coffee yet so I am not going to start citing sources online to confirm this, just google it.

Regarding Bio fuels, the US can feed it self with ease, why shouldn't we take some of our excess production to produce biofuel?  More so if your argument that a potential global food crisis is "just hearsay"?

But I will grant you that the energy rate of return on energy invested is low....

panika2008's picture

Uhm, and if oil price is maybe (pessimistically) 10-15% vegetable food/fodder cost, how can it be a LARGER part of meat cost? Like - do animals eat oil or natgas apart from the fodder we feed them? It's ABSOLUTELY true that producing meat is a stupid waste of energy, but still, in the energy wasted, the percentage coming from fossil fuels is at most the same as inputed in vegetables. In other words, the sensitivity of meat prices to oil/coal/natgas price fluctuations is no larger than corn/wheat/whatever vegetables.


" why shouldn't we take some of our excess production to produce biofuel" - absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as the decision to use the land for food or fuel crops is market based and not influenced by gigantic government subsidies.

TheRagingTory's picture

If a ton of wheat uses 10 gallons of oil, and a ton of beef uses 10 tons of wheat, a ton of beef uses 100 gallons of oil.

panika2008's picture

And still the 100 gallons that the beef uses is approximately the same percentage of input cost as the 10 gallons the wheat uses.


In fact, probably the sensitivity of higher-order food (e.g. beef) to fossil fuel prices will be lower because of higher transport efficiency (a ton of beef requires 1/10 the fuel to transport that 10 tons of wheat - that the beef "is made of" - require).


Seriously guys, this is elementary math, not some kind of rocket science.

TheRagingTory's picture

Except you need to tranport ten tons of wheat, and then another ton of beef on top of that.

Unless your cows live on a grain farm, and in the real world, they usualy dont.

TheRagingTory's picture

Has food gone up or has the dollar gone down?

No food crisis, dollar crisis.



c-rev with a twist's picture

Precisely.  You never heard these arguments in 2008.  I guess the aquifers, honey bees, oil, and depleting top soil remarkably made a come back that year.  For as right as Sinclair is on his monetary outlook and its bearing on gold/silver, he doesn't seem to vet these other issues that support his outlook, like the honeybee issue. 


Maybe we could all do some homework before spreading the hype, because at the end of the day, many here are just talking their book, whether it be PMs, mad max survival, or lack of food.  It's all speculative and highly cyclical, whether you like it or not.

emsolý's picture

Add to that the collapsing honey bee population, which is detrimental to agriculture.

johny2's picture

Hven't you read about the Indian man who has lived last 70 years without any food or water??? 

BigJim's picture

You call that living?

johny2's picture

I see what you mean, but if more people would be like this guy, the food prices for those who do need to eat would not rise so much...

Mercury's picture

Sounds like a future First Lady campaign.

Yen Cross's picture

Take the doom and gloom shit some where else! This has been going on for eons! Drill baby drill And gets grow our own (US) food supplies. Brazil can export Orange Juice to the US cheaper than they can grow and process it in Florida. The Fed is drilling the Dollar into the dirt. Know why? China can't sustain exports with a Yuan valued in US dollars. Commodites are still priced in US dollars! That is why the Yuan is setting daily new highs against the USD. China is an export economy, and relies heavily on natural resources. (INPUT COSTS. Pegging your currency to the dollar works great when inflation is in check. Same with the rinse wash Korea,Vietnam, Indonesia,Tiawon,Singapore...Ect. How long can Europe sustain a Eur/Usd 146.000. I called 146 weeks ago. Pathetic!

Urban Redneck's picture

The US gets the double whammy- as the luxury associated with its over-valued currency evaporates, the competition for scarce resources increases. 

shortus cynicus's picture

Thanks for great article.

But US citizens has first eat the plague of Asian Carp:


... then we may think about food crisis in USA.

FrankDrakman's picture

Paging Reverend Malthus!

Seriously, about half of the "twenty" points were the same data points restated - #'s 11-17, all the "water" points, etc. And the biggest real one is the US subsidy for ethanol from corn. If they're serious about ethanol, buy it from Brazil, cut the deficit (Brazilian ethanol is cheaper than the subsidy), and let the price of corn drop, immediately taking the pressure off food prices in the US, Mexico, and many other places, as the US was the world's largest exporter of corn. Substitution effects are raising the cost of wheat, soybeans, etc., as US farmers pull acreage out of those grains for the corn bonanza. Not one of these effects is "natural"; every single one is political.

Water doesn't get "used" up; it just gets recycled. It might not always be where it's most convenient (look at the flooding in MN/ND/SK/MB right now, and tell me there's a shortage of water) but if we can build pipelines to ship oil, we might look at doing that for water as well.

AldousHuxley's picture

Let them eat iPads

no2foreclosures's picture

The useful idiots who parrot the Big Oil Myths on Ethanol always bring this food vs. fuel argument which is not even an argument if you have any understanding of corn and cows.

It takes 10 lbs of GMO corn to grow 1 lb of cow, because cows are not designed to digest starch, they were designed to eat grass and scrubs. Forcing cows to eat corn is animal cruelty and it causes them to have all sorts of gastronomical problems including bloating and diseases.

By distilling the corn first, you get three things: (1) alcohol, of course, (2) CO2, and (3) mash which is all the proteins, nutrients, minerals, vitamins (because fermentation and distillation of corn consumes only the sugar and starch content).  You get about 3.3 lbs of mash from the 10 lbs of corn.

By feeding the 3.3 lbs of mash to the cow, it actually gains 17% more weight and doesn't have the bloating and other gastronomical problems, is happier.

During Prohibition, the IRS revenuers would go to the county fairs to spy out the moonshiners by seeing who had the fattest cows and fattest pigs, because those farmers where feeding their cows and pigs with the mash from the moonshine stills.

And if you do small scale alcohol production using permaculture techniques, you can pipe the CO2 into greenhouses to supercharge the veggies in terms of their growth rates and in some cases sizes of the vegetable.


mccoyspace's picture

that is an amazing document you link to. well done!

Antarctico's picture

By feeding the 3.3 lbs of mash to the cow, it actually gains 17% more weight and doesn't have the bloating and other gastronomical problems, is happier.

Interesting info about using corn mash as feed.  I personally would rather eat a happy cow.

Waterfallsparkles's picture

If you are eating the Cow I doubt it is very happy.

Antarctico's picture

If you are eating the Cow I doubt it is very happy.

Usually, unless I am just utterly famished, I will not eat the cow until after it is dead. I think a cow should be allowed to be a cow, get to hang out with the other cows outside munching on grass and cud and all that, because this increases the odds of the cow being happy (simple creatures that they are), and a happy cow, all broader animal welfare concerns aside, is a tastier, more nutritious cow. 

UnBearorBull's picture

Just to be clear... so they now do feed this mash to livestock after they have extracted the alcohol for ethanol?


no2foreclosures's picture

Yes, in many cases they feed the mash, technically called "dried distiller grains" or DDG to the cows, after fermentation and distillation of the corn into ethanol or alcohol.  In fact, DDG is a commodity that is traded in Chicago.

SimplePrinciple's picture

Boy, this is great.  So ethanol production spits out waste that is processed so efficiently by animals that they grow bigger, fatter, faster.  Sounds like meat prices should be plummeting!  Except that in reality it seems to be the opposite.

sodbuster's picture

Wow! I can't believe it! Somebody that actually knows what they are talking about!

DDG's are also used in hog rations(up to 15%of the ration) poultry, and dairy feed. Every one always screams about the billions of bushels of corn that are used in ethanol production, but never tell people that 25-30% of those bushels come back to the livestock in the form of DDG's. Also- the bulk of the ethanol plants were first constructed in the areas of the Midwest farthest from the "River". Why? Because basis was killing us. In other words, we were getting 50 cents to a dollar less for our corn- because of transportation costs to get the corn to the Mississippi River. And when corn was in abundance, our corn was the last to be used. Most of the first ethanol plants were started by farmers that grouped together and sold shares to get the first plants put up. Now, those ethanol plants that are out here, are bringing the livestock industry back to where the corn is. Why haul the DDGs across the country, when you can feed the livestock here, and put the manure right back onto the field for fertilizer. ( Manure is the best fertilizer- much preferred over commercial fertilizer.) Ethanol and the livestock industry has brought us many, good paying jobs. I know- my son is a chemical engineer and works for Poet Bio. And let me assure you, ethanol production is a lot more efficient and getting better, than the naysayers on these forums would have you believe. Most articles written about ethanol keep regurgitating the same 10 year old data. One last point- ethanol was never intended as a complete fuel. It was only intended to be used as a substitute for MTBE. MTBE is an oxygenate used in gasoline to help it burn more complete. It is also a carcinogen that is showing up in water and soil samples all over the US. MTBE is made by the oil industry, so it's not hard to understand what they are so pissed about. Not that the oil industry ever gave a damn about poisoning the environment. 

 Nice to finally see someone that knows what they are talking about.