Global Food Insecurity

Apr. 02, 2020 5:38 PM ETCME2 Comments
Albert Goldson profile picture
Albert Goldson


  • Extreme meteorological changes are adversely impacting crop growth worldwide, which reduce export revenue especially for emerging countries.
  • Labor shortages for spring harvests and logistical challenges in transporting goods to markets are complicated by governmental restrictions to combat Covid-19.
  • The aforementioned confluence of problems is rapidly resulting in strong upward pressure on food prices.

My recent SA article, published 1 April 2020 entitled Trucks Operations Paramount to Food Security, provided a comprehensive overview on logistical challenges and food insecurity in the US. In this article, I will expand and will discuss its impact on food prices globally.

Extreme Meteorological Changes

Whether or not climate change is to be blamed, the fact remains that, during the past decade, more extreme, intense, and unusual once-in-a-century weather patterns have emerged such as floods and droughts that have severely damaged crops.

As the Covid-19 pandemic consumes the world and cripples global supply chains, the ability to either export revenue producing crops or import much needed foodstuffs for a hungry population is severely compromised. Such strains are resulting in markedly higher food prices.

Emerging countries are highly vulnerable, particularly Africa, which is suffering from a locust onslaught. Add in the decades-old problem of water scarcity (particularly clean, potable water) and lack of sanitation Covid-19 will continue to run rampant in these regions.

Global Supply Chain Logistics

The Financial Times article 25 March 2020 How Coronavirus is Affecting Pasta’s Complex Supply Chain, outlines the global supply chain complexities with a chart explaining the routes:

  1. Wheat is taken from harvest wheat in Canada.
  2. It is shipped to Italy where it is turned into pasta.
  3. It is then taken by ferry to the UK where it is transported by trucks to distribution centers.
  4. From there, it is transported by truck to supermarkets.

To paraphrase the challenges in this global supply chain:

  • Chokepoints: Borders close, disruptions at ports.
  • Labor shortage: Production/distribution staff fall sick, truckers refuse to drive.

Labor-intense food crops such as fruits & vegetables vs mechanized crops like wheat. with harvest season soon arriving.

The aforementioned article provided the estimated seasonal harvest workers required in three European countries. I’ve created

This article was written by

Albert Goldson profile picture
Albert Goldson is Executive Director of Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC, a NYC-based boutique think-tank and global advisory firm that provides counter-intuitive, contrarian, and often prescient, over-the-horizon geopolitical risk assessments and investment strategies. A former Public Policy Maker and US DHS officer, Mr. Goldson’s memberships in a wide-spectrum of professional organizations gives him access to influencers and decision-makers at the highest levels which include the Hedge Fund Association, Association of Former Intelligence Officers, American Society of International Lawyers and NY International Arbitration Center.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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