The New Geopolitics of Food
roducing enough grain to make it to the next harvest has challenged farmers ever since agriculture began. But now, the challenge is deepening as new trends — falling water tables, plateauing grain yields and rising temperatures — join soil erosion to make it difficult to expand production fast enough.
In the United States, 9% of income goes for food. Those on the lower rungs of the global economic ladder cope spend 50% to 70% of their income on food.
As a result, world grain carryover stocks have dropped from an average of 107 days of consumption a decade or so ago to 74 days in recent years.
World food prices have more than doubled over the last decade. Those who live in the United States, where 9% of income goes for food, are largely insulated from these price shifts.
But how do those who live on the lower rungs of the global economic ladder cope? They were already spending 50% to 70% of their income on food. Many were down to one meal a day already before the recent price rises.