The global food crisis – some people still don’t get it


I’ve been trying to explain in previous articles (most recently last Monday) just how bad the world food situation has become.  However, it seems a lot of people just don’t get it.  I get e-mails and comments from readers complaining that I’m being unduly alarmist, even when I link to sources for my facts.  They complain about local shortages, but have no idea why they exist – or that local shortages are, in fact, a symptom of a much larger problem, one that is already producing food riots in several countries.

Let me be as blunt as possible.  We’re probably going to see a massive breakdown of stability, law and order around the world, all because of a shortage of food and its increased cost.  That may even include parts of the United States.  We can no longer avoid it;  only brace for impact.  It really is that bad.

Let’s briefly look at the damage to food production and distribution caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences.  Supermarkets were swamped with demand, because people were forced to quarantine at home, and could no longer patronize restaurants, fast-food outlets and the like.  The supermarket supply chain was so overloaded it could not keep pace;  and the distributors sending goods into that chain ran out of supplies.  They turned to food processors, but they couldn’t help, because their production was geared to normal consumption patterns, not the radically changed ones of the pandemic.  The food processors, in turn, were hit by COVID-19 absenteeism among their workforces and other restrictions, as well as the loss of almost the entire restaurant and fast-food market (a completely different production line, with different demands, processes and distribution networks).  They had to tell farmers that they couldn’t buy their crops, because either there wasn’t enough demand for them, or they couldn’t process them;  so fields were plowed under, milk was poured out on the ground, eggs were smashed by the hundreds of thousands, etc.  Domestic food production staggered under the blow, and still has not fully recovered.  Neither have supply pipelines, still clogged by the backlog caused by COVID-19.

Added to that, the price of natural gas and other fossil fuels skyrocketed due to a number of factors (not least being regulatory restrictions on fossil fuels by dementedly “green” national governments, including the Biden administration).  Natural gas is a vital feedstock for the production of ammonia and urea fertilizers;  but costs rose so much that many producers simply shut down, because they couldn’t afford them (or, more accurately, their customers could not afford to pay the resultant greatly increased price for nitrate fertilizer).  Disruptions caused by war (to exports from Russia and Belarus, the world’s second- and third-largest producers of potash) and national priorities (e.g. China, the world’s biggest producer of phosphate fertilizer, has banned its export so as to secure its own needs) added fuel to the fire, and made it worse.  Overall, fertilizer availability has dropped drastically and prices have increased three- to fivefold around the world, leading many farmers to selectively cut back on how much they’re using, or switch to crops requiring less of it.  That in turn means food production is dropping worldwide, sometimes to critical levels.  Therefore, nations relying on importing food from elsewhere may no longer be able to get what they need, because not enough is available – or they’re being outbid for it by richer countries.

Finally, the international shipping market, essential to move products from one country to another, is still swamped by the supply chain backlog around the world.  It’s so bad that even some bulk cargo vessels, usually carrying grain or the like between countries, have been repurposed as makeshift container carriers, thus removing them from the bulk market altogether in the short to medium term.  At a time when nations all over the world are scrambling to buy food from elsewhere, they can’t get enough ships to carry it from its source to nearby ports;  and, even if they can get the ships, the railway lines that would carry the food from the ports to where it’s needed are already overloaded and clogged with other freight.  It’s a total mess.

All these factors, allied to other economic problems largely caused by the pandemic and its international consequences, are already causing social hardship and protests in several countries.  Consider these recent headlines:

Those are just a few current reports.  There will be more, involving more countries.  That’s now unavoidable.

I’ve seen this before, in many parts of Africa over many years.  I know exactly how hard life is going to get for millions upon millions of people in the Third World . . . and, as a result, all who can are going to try to move elsewhere to escape it.  You think Europe and North America have an illegal alien problem now?  That’s nothing compared to what’s coming.  When people get desperate enough, they’ll move heaven and earth to get to wherever they think they can live a better life, whether or not that place wants them or is willing to take them in.  We’re talking a tidal wave of illegal invasion here.

As Michael Yon (who’s also “been there and done that”, and has seen the same things I’ve seen in the Third World) pointed out a few days ago:

The Four Horsemen are real. Not mythical. Pestilence, War, Famine, Death.

The First Horseman is Pestilence. This time was a manufactured pandemic. Famine, the Third Horseman, was set into motion by the First Horseman.

Second Horseman is War. Russia’s attack on Ukraine creates perfect storm conditions for Third Horseman.

Third Horseman is Famine. These famines will be massive. Hundreds of millions may die. Maybe more.

The Fourth Horseman is Death.

These old “myths” are not myths at all. They are literary, storytelling descriptions of reality. These “myths” live thousands of years because they are true patterns. The idea of the Four Horsemen survives because this distilled human truth is the essence of knowledge. And that is wisdom from our elders. These stories were told by the witnesses who survived.

Those who study these “myths” have a far higher chance of being the storytellers who pass them along — amplified.

The only thing missing is a mouse plague. Which Australia appears to be working on.

On the scale of things, Ukraine is a barroom brawl. The Third Horseman will gallop across Africa, China, Europe and more.

Feel the hoofbeats underfoot.

He continued yesterday:

PanFaWar is Pandemic, Famine, War: Three Musketeers of Disaster. All for One, One for All.

The three elements are recursive. Famine swirls straight back to pandemic. Famine creates a population with “AIDS” due to malnutrition, and other factors such as bad hygiene and migrations. (Great migrations can also lead to pandemic.)

So Pandemic leads to Famine, Famine loops back to Pandemic.

These three elements are recursive inputs. All three lead to Migrations: PanFaWar + Migration.

Due to PanFaWar, we are about to see the most epic migrations ever seen. The migrations will add to PanFaWar — until the fuel is spent and a new equilibrium is reached.

When this is over, the world will look very different.

The current food shortage is rapidly developing into actual famine on an international scale.  World food production is likely to drop by at least a third over the next two years or so.  Our current world population cannot be sustained at that level of production.  It’s going to mean a catastrophic drop in food availability and consumption in every country that can’t afford the much higher prices that will be charged for the limited food supply.  Famine, starvation and massive unrest are guaranteed to result.  This is not optional.  It’s already happening in several countries, and it’s going to spread and get worse.  You can take that to the bank.

What does it mean for the United States?  I think our food shortages are going to be more local than national.  We produce enough food (and can import additional food, fertilizer, etc. from Canada) that North America is likely to be able to feed itself, albeit at much higher prices and with a greatly reduced selection of goods.  The problem will be when poorer people can’t afford to buy food.  They’re going to demand more in welfare and support payments;  and if the money isn’t there, they’re going to riot.  I won’t be surprised to see an upsurge in urban unrest and greatly increased crime in many of our larger cities, particularly because their governments are almost uniformly ineffectual, corrupt and incompetent.  They’ll point fingers at “the rich” or “racists” or “hoarders”, and do anything to put the blame on others – which will merely inflame the rioters to greater efforts against those they see as responsible for their plight.  If you live in or near such a city, and your skin is the wrong color, or your suburb is “nicer” and “richer” than inner-city ghettoes, expect problems.  That’s putting it mildly.

As for the inner-city areas themselves, food deserts are likely to become more widespread.  It happened after the BLM riots in 2020 (for example, in Chicago and Minneapolis), and it’ll happen again.  Every time a store is looted by hungry, angry locals, the owners of that store will ask themselves, “Why should we rebuild?  Why should we restock it, when we know it’ll just be stripped clean again?”  They’re increasingly likely to cut their losses and abandon the store.  If – when – enough of them do that, the neighborhood will be left with no local sources from which to buy food;  so they’ll have to go elsewhere, possibly including your neighborhood, to get what they need.  They’ll bring with them the attitudes – and, possibly, the actions – that created their food desert in the first place.  Brace yourselves, friends.

The police may want to restore law and order, but they’re likely to be hampered by criminal-friendly district attorneys (see current events in Los Angeles and New York for just two examples) and politically correct city administrations (for example, Seattle).    If any of us try to protect our families, homes and supplies from such intrusions, we’re likely to be painted as aggressors, racists or even domestic terrorists.  That won’t be true, but truth doesn’t matter to radical community organizers and pressure groups.  Things are likely to get very sporty indeed.

Adding to the problem will be an immense upsurge in illegal aliens crossing our border in a desperate search for sustenance and employment.  One can’t blame them – if we were among them, we’d almost certainly be doing the same thing – but it’s a huge security threat to our society.  We’re talking millions of unwanted people every year.  They’ll break the law to get here, which means they’ll probably go on breaking the law to get what they want and/or need – to the detriment of law-abiding citizens.

I think we’ll have enough food on a national scale to make it;  but we’re going to experience all sorts of regional and local shortages, unpredictable as to timing and duration, as governments try to control food supplies (and, by doing so, make things worse, as governments invariably do).  That may include extended shortages of items we consider important or even essential.  If you have special dietary needs (e.g. gluten or lactose intolerance, vegetarian diet, etc.) you should already be stocking up on essentials, looking for alternatives (e.g. frozen, dried and canned food instead of fresh), and planning how you’re going to work around shortages when they arise – as they certainly will.

Also, don’t be sure you’ll still have a job if things get really bad.  The economy as a whole will suffer, and small businesses in particular are likely to be hard hit.  Job security will be distinctly “iffy”.  The income on which you rely to buy food may not be there;  so use it while you can, to stock up on essentials, just in case.

Friends, I don’t know what more I can say to convince you of the seriousness of the problem.  It’s not just our local supermarkets.  It’s worldwide, and involves far more than just food, and it’s getting worse by the day.

Brace yourselves, and prepare as best you can.



  1. The post today includes the following, "The Four Horsemen are real. Not mythical. Pestilence, War, Famine, Death."

    And yet the question continuing to be asked is, something like, " . . . why are so many readers saying that I am being alarmist?!"

    I responded in a previous reply several weeks ago. I will not just rewrite what I wrote, but I will list some basic thoughts.

    (1) Do not assume those of us who disagree with you are not prepared. Long time readers of your blog, myself included, ARE prepared. Yes, . . . we are. Thank you for your concern.

    (2) Are hard times here? Of course. Is a famine coming? I hope so. Seriously. The world needs it. Beginning with America.

    (3) I attend gun shows frequently. Most of the people I observe hovering over all the tables set out by the preppers have long lost sight of their belt buckles, years ago. 32.5 percent of American adults are overweight. 36.5 percent of Americans are obese.

    Shocked by what I wrote in my previous reply several weeks ago, one of the readers of this blog wrote, in reply, "Did you read your post before you hit send?"
    "Do you really think a bit 'O Famine might be GOOD . . . ?"

    My answer: "Yes". Yes, I do give considerable thought to what I write. And, yes.

    I am a long time reader of this blog (a very long time reader, as a matter of fact). So I don't write very much, but when I do, it is only after giving the topic a lot of thought.

    Instead of wringing hands, and running out to supply places, trying to stock up more and more, . . . maybe more thought should be given to WHY these things are happening. [And I mean deeply thinking about why, . . . (not just the usual, predictable, quick, typical replies, which invariably include a list of "blames")].

  2. As I commented on your previous post warning of the coming food shortages here locally we had been experiencing a boneless, skinless chicken shortage here locally. My wife and I utilize that chicken as well as boneless center cut thick pork chops that we cut ourselves from pork loins as well as beef from the half a cow we purchased locally to make our daily meals from. I have bought the chicken and pork when it goes on sale and vacuum seal it for the freezer. Suddenly this week one local food store chain is once again advertising the chicken on sale for $1.79/lb starting today. I will see if they have actual supply and purchase more to replace that which we have recently used.

    We are planting more strawberry and raspberry plants this week. Our early garden is coming along well and we have been harvesting greens from the cold box and our asparagus is providing enough for meals 3-4 times each week. Plenty of ground has been tilled for our later crops of beans, greens, tomatoes, peppers cucumbers, squash and pumpkins. We received our 8×16 foot greenhouse kit and are getting the foundation area prepped to assemble the greenhouse.

    If you live in or near a large city get out now if at all possible. Rural areas are not often welcoming to new comers and interlopers especially uninvited ones. We live at the end of a dead end mountain gravel road and our nearest neighbor is over a mile back down the road. There are only 5 other house on the 3-1/3 miles back out to an intersection with another mountain gravel road. Our house is almost a half mile down our driveway from the locked steel gate at the property's entrance. Most people do not even know the house is even here.

    Hard times are on the horizon, harder times than most folks have experienced in their lifetime. Do what you can to sensibly prepare for them for the long term. Food and resources properly stored away can be used even if none of the doom and gloom happen and we enter an era of "free bubble up and rainbow stew". But if prices continue to skyrocket and shortages increase for the long term what you have put away will be a much better investment than your 401K. We will continue to do so. Take the many warnings seriously.

    Benjamin Franklin said, "If you are failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail".

  3. More food for thought…

    Peak Prosperity on the coming famine and civil unrest in some countries that has already started.

    I volunteered at a local food bank here for over 3 years and only stopped due to some of the over the top restrictions they put in place as the plandemic got underway. I basically spent 1-2 afternoons as needed sorting and stocking incoming donations both corporate and local and helped build the weekly boxes of canned and dry goods that would be distributed with added fresh meat, fruits and vegetables. I was initially shocked at the number of families in this rural "red" county in the mountains of NC had that needed help. They also had a backpack program that supplied the local schools with packages to distribute to the local schools to send home with the children who were on school food assistance program. Those children received both breakfast and lunch 5 days a week at school and needed food aid on weekends.

    Even here in rural "red" NC there are going to be hungry, angry and desperate people if the system breaks down. If it gets so bad that EBT cards and other assistance programs shut down or even have major delays then "Katy bar the door". People whose children are going hungry will do desperate things.

    Thinking about why these things are happening will not necessarily stop them from becoming a reality, but if the worst happens and you are lucky enough to see the other side then that might help the remnant from seeing the errors repeated.

  4. Peter, I think you are far too optimistic about the American food supply. There is not going to be enough here either and global politics will cause some of our essential food to be sent overseas.

  5. Prog Politics will almost certainly be a fifth horseman. There is not yet serious consideration of ending the food to fuel alcohol misallocation, and I recently read of a near Western state giving a ChiCom related company money and tax breaks to build a corn to amino acid processing plant that will consume 17 Billion bushels of corn per year, and export the end products. WTF !!!
    The US .gov has always used the export production of our farmers to buy peace or cooperation from foreign States. This will have to end, or at least be sharply curtailed. That means famine, war, and a much higher level of invaders crossing our undefended borders.
    Food and food distribution shortages here will tesult in riots and plundering. The "unexpected failure" of the Food Stamp cards in Birmingham 8 or so years ago looked to me like a test. By the 4th day of the outage, the food stores and Walmarts in the neighborhoods of special privilege had been raided and stripped.
    Prepare for the .gov to come and help you, you wreckers, hoarders, Kulaks, and opposers of all things good and proper !
    SARC /
    John in Indy

  6. I think different areas of the US will have different shortages. The big national/international brands will be hard to find – this includes most store brands – but more local items will be found in lesser quantities. The other issue will be the junk food/fast food/meals in a box won't be there, and people will starve because they will be either unable or unwilling to eat what there is. The number of people I know (and this is across generations – Silents to Zoomers) who absolutely refuse to eat anything outside of a very narrow band of specific meals boggles my mind.

    Meanwhile, I'm trying to learn as many different rice recipes I can get my kids to eat as possible…

  7. A quick update and the local store did indeed have boneless, skinless chicken on sale except for $1.99 per pound and they had plenty of stock. I picked up 4 large family packs. Not to appear to be a "hoarder" when things go on sale that we need to replace or build stock on I usually stop by 4 or 5 days during the 7 day sale and pick up smaller amounts. What I picked up already will bring us back to full stock level but if I can make freezer room we will add more. Keep on prepping…

    You might not be concerned about having enough to eat until you don't. So it goes…

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