Food security has become headline news in recent years. El Niño, variable climate patterns, supply chain challenges and heightened geopolitical tensions have placed global food security under increased stress. The human cost if the current trend continues could be catastrophic. And the chain of industries from agriculture to food production through to hospitality and tourism are becoming increasingly exposed to a complex range of risks — commercial, operating and financial.
The second white paper in our Climate Change Food Bowl series examines three scenarios that focus on the role of policy makers in the current food security debate:
- The Russia-Ukraine war and its affect on food security
- Global food price inflation and export bans
- Genetically modified (GM) crops and increased use of pesticides
Traditional farming practices are also under the spotlight. The introduction of GM crops and increased use of fertilizers and pesticides — some in breach of regulatory guidelines — in an attempt to drive productivity and increase yields have raised questions as environmental groups and animal rights activists drive the agenda for change.
- Export bans and trading restrictions in an attempt to stave off local concerns about food affordability and accessibility have caused severe strains on other key markets, including Bangladesh and the Philippines, and shifted the market dynamic, with increased export taxes and stringent trading controls looking set to continue in the near term.
- Sentiment on GM crops is changing, with opposition to GM crops decreasing in Europe. In addition, the percentage of people worried about the use of GM ingredients in food and drinks dropped from 63% in 2005 to 27% in 2019. This decrease is viewed as a positive development in some quarters — whether driven by necessity or reality — as productivity and yields from traditional crops continue to suffer from the ongoing global warming process.
- Amidst the Black Sea blockade for Ukrainian ships and ongoing problems for Russian exporters, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization expects 7.6M to 13.1M more malnourished people around the globe, depending on the severity of the shock.