Grain Stockpiles Shrink to 30 Year Low
For most of this decade, grain production has failed to keep up with demand. Climate change, the growing affluence of the developing world, and, more recently, the demand for biofuels have all combined to steadily shrink stockpiles.
This year wheat production has taken a blow from bad weather that has resulted in a 30 percent reduction in the expected crop in Australia, and a 6 percent drop in Canada, two of the world's major exporters. As a result, wheat prices have climbed past $9 a bushel for the first time ever.
India which was self sufficient in wheat until 2006, expects to import 5 million tons this year.
The situation is likely to get worse in coming years. According to the World Bank, 15 percent of the world's food supplies, feeding 160 million people, depend on water being drawn from rapidly depleting underground sources or overused rivers that are drying up.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that climate change could cut the output from rain dependent agriculture in half by 2020. A study by Dalhouse University projects that present fishing levels will deplete all commercial species by 2048.
All of this will be aggravated by shrinking oil production and ever increasing energy prices.
"Less and local" will likely be forced upon us as the only sustainable path we have.