Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Is the World heading towards food shortages? Are you prepared?

With supermarket shelves packed full of food its no surprise that most people are oblivious to the fact that food shortages and price increases will become a growing problem over the coming decades.

So why is there a problem? Well firstly the world's population is projected to increase to 9.6 billion by 2050 from a current figure of 7.2 billion. That's a staggering 30% more mouths to feed in just 36 years time. To feed everyone it has been estimated that world agricultural production will need to double.

However, the amount of land used for food production is reducing. Land used for food is increasingly being used for bio-fuels, there are growing water shortage problems and the effects of climate change are expected to reduce productivity. Added to these problems is changing food demands as developing countries become more affluent. For example, it takes 10 kg of grain to produce 1 kg of meat and meat consumption in China has quadrupled in the last 30 years.

At the same time the vast majority of our food system is built upon the unsustainable flow of cheap oil. With peak oil expected sometime between 2020 and 2030 the price of oil will increase. This will put pressure on a food industry heavily dependent on oil. for driving machinery, producing fertilisers and pesticides, processing crops and distribution networks.

What can we do to prepare for increasing shortages and food inflation?

1. Re-skill by learning about growing your own organic fruit, vegetables and herbs. Learn how to preserve your crops and how to cook from scratch. Learn how to save your own seeds.

2. If space permits keep chickens which will provide eggs and meat, manure and clear bugs from your garden.

3. If money permits buy products in bulk that have a very long shelf life such as rice, dried beans, salt, sugar and oil. This will provide a back-up if shortages occur and will probably save you money as prices increase.

4. Gradually buy equipment that is essential to preserve your crops such as a dehydrator, a preserving pan and a good pressure cooker for bottling.

5. Teach yourself about foraging for free food, fishing and hunting.

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