According to the Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, the 2020s are set to be a decade of dramatic economic and social upheaval, reversing many of the trends of the past 40 years and this report came out before the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world. Add to this another billion mouths to feed this decade climate change bringing record heat, cold, rain and droughts and it doesn't need an expert to know we are in for a rough ride, a very rough ride. Merrill Lynch says the era of globalisation from 1981-2016 has ended and is reversing. The bank's analysts expect inflation and interest rates to increase from their current 5,000-year lows. The bank is expecting wealth inequality to fall next decade as voters demand redistribution and taxes rise in what it describes as "the decade of peak". In the 2020s we will have another billion mouths to feed. Add into the mix the Covid-19 disaster and then you suddenly realise we are shafted.
2019 was already a disaster for much of the worlds farming industry but it will pale into significance as we approach the halfway mark of a Covid-19 infected 2020. A new report from Bloomberg claims thousands of pigs are rotting on compost heaps as grocers run out of meat. Covid-19 outbreaks at slaughterhouses have led to the largest pig culling effort the U.S. has ever seen. Hundreds of thousands of animals are already backed up, and CoBank estimates 7 million animals may have to be destroyed this quarter alone. That’s about a billion pounds of meat lost to consumers. Some farms in Minnesota are even using chippers -- reminiscent of the 1996 movie “Fargo” -- to grind up carcasses to be spread out for compost. Rendering plants are seeing higher volumes of hogs turned into everything from gelatin to sausage casings. Behind that enormous waste are thousands of farmers, some of whom are holding on in the hope that slaughterhouses get back up and running before animals get too heavy. Others are cutting their losses and culling herds. Pig “depopulation,” to coin an industry euphemism, highlights the disconnect that’s occurring as the pandemic sickens workers trying to churn out food supplies in mega-plants across the U.S.
Recently I have been receiving quite a few emails from worried farmers or people who work in slaughterhouses or in the food industry as a whole. 2020 is turning out to be a disaster for millions of people around the world but I want to focus on the food sector which, in case you didn't realise already received incredible hardship in 2019 and now, as Covid-19 has taken its vicious grip around the world it is the food sector which will bring the next Bible-Esque prophecy to our tables, pun well-intended.
Back in 2019, a crisis emerged across three continents as extreme weather conditions and disease began to bite the farming industry leaving world banks warning the 2020s would be a decade of dramatic economic and social upheaval as another billion mouths will need to be fed. This statement, of course, was made well before the coronavirus had jumped from animal to human, (or from lab to human.)
In 2019, Europe was losing 1000 small farms a day, due to a crop decline, leading to price rises. Officials were using the word 'disaster' to describe the widespread crop failures happening all over America and in Asia pork prices had doubled after more than a quarter of the entire global pig population had been slaughtered due to an outbreak, (also in China) of African swine fever.
Another big factor, destroying crops in 2019 was the weather. In many parts of Europe, Ireland and the UK it began to rain at the end of September 2019 and didn't stop until the end of January 2020. It was even worse for the U.S., who witnessed “unprecedented” crop failures all across the country. The endless rain and horrific flooding during the early months of 2019 resulted in tremendous delays in getting crops planted in many areas, and then snow and bitterly cold temperatures turned the harvest season into a complete and utter nightmare all over the country, resulting in their worst agricultural year in history.
After unprecedented droughts, record-busting temperatures and mega-size bushfires, 2019/2020 has been a disaster for Australian farmers, tens of thousands of cattle lost and even more farming acres, as their worst summer in history brought a 60% loss in productivity.
On January the 11th, 2019, the holiest site in Islam was swarmed by a plague of locusts, forcing cleaners into action to drive the insects out. The Great Mosque in Mecca, which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims every year and is the holiest site in Islam was the birthplace of a plague which in just over 12 months would grow into billions, stretching from the western border of China sweeping through Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, through Arabia the Middle East, northern Africa and all the way down to Southern Africa. TBW. The numbers and size of the plagues are unfathomable, we are talking billions of the most ravenous beast known to man, just a small swarm can eat enough food to feed a city of 35,000 people. These swarms are currently invading the poorest and most food-insecure people on the planet and the swarms are expected to increase 5 fold by June.
If you think the end is in sight when the Coronavirus calms down, think again, ladies and gentleman, we haven't even started.
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