Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bad News for India's Crops and Hunger Globally?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that "India's Wilting Crops Tarnish Gold" Aug 7, 2012, C4

Majia Here: The article discusses the implications for the gold market.

I believe the gold market is subject to manipulation so I'm less interested in that aspect of the story.

I am interested in the part about India's crops wilting because of a slow start to seasonal rains.

Here are some facts (paraphrased) about India's precipitation and crops from the article:

Rainfall in India as a whole is 20% below the 50 year average.

Parts of India are facing possibility of a "full blown drought."

More than 60% of India's population depends upon agricultural production directly.

Agricultural output is expected to be "impaired" even if rains finally pick up in August.

Majia here: The US is also experiencing a drought:

Drought intensifies in most-parched areas of U.S. Washington Post by Alyssa Botelho and Joel Achenbach Aug 2

Link to site with drought conditions in the US (thanks Bobby):

percentage of the US that is moderately to extremely dry:

Michael Klare, a noted geopolitical analyst, predicts unrest as a result. Here is the introduction to his essay posted at TomDispatch: 

[Excerpted Introduction to Klare's Essay by Tomgram] It’s the summer of heat across the U.S., where the first six months of the year have been the hottest on record (and the bugs are turning out in droves in response).  Heat records are continually being broken.  More than 52% of the country is now experiencing some level of drought, and drought conditions are actually intensifying in the Midwest; 66% of the Illinois corn crop is in “poor” or “very poor” shape, with similarly devastating percentages across the rest of the Midwest.  The average is 48% across the corn belt, and for soybeans 37% -- and it looks as if next year’s corn crop may be endangered as well.  

The Hunger Wars in Our Future
Heat, Drought, Rising Food Costs, and Global Unrest
By Michael T. Klare
[Excerpted from Klare's essay] The Great Drought of 2012 has yet to come to an end, but we already know that its consequences will be severe. With more than one-half of America’s counties designated as drought disaster areas, the 2012 harvest of corn, soybeans, and other food staples is guaranteed to fall far short of predictions. This, in turn, will boost food prices domestically and abroad, causing increased misery for farmers and low-income Americans and far greater hardship for poor people in countries that rely on imported U.S. grains.

This, however, is just the beginning of the likely consequences: if history is any guide, rising food prices of this sort will also lead to widespread social unrest and violent conflict...

Majia Here: Any increase in hunger is a global tragedy. Although, some US policy makers seem to see the unrest as a useful pretext for invading countries, either militarily or with "development aid" agencies.

Previously I posted speculation on a possible relationship between this year's drought in the midwest and Fukushima


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