A generation after leading scientists and experts warned the world of an escalating series of horrendous famines, the crop gluts continue. The latest kick in the pants to the Malthusian doomsayers is a bumper global wheat harvest. The FT reports:
Extensive planting and benign weather have forced analysts to repeatedly raise crop outlooks. The International Grains Council last week increased its global wheat production forecast to a record 743m tonnes, up 1 per cent from last year. […]
The recent US winter wheat harvest was 45m tonnes, up 21 per cent from 2015, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Merchants who have run out of room in silos are piling wheat outdoors.
Storage concerns are also growing in Russia, which is this year set to become the largest wheat exporter after hauling in more than 70m tonnes. In Canada, the government anticipates the second-largest wheat crop in 25 years, of 30.5m tonnes. Australia’s imminent wheat harvest is forecast at 26.5m tonnes, the most in five years.
Defying not only the Club of Rome doomsayers, but also the climate Chicken Littles who have been warning about damage from rising temperatures to world agriculture, food production is booming even as meteorologists call July 2016 the hottest month ever.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t problems and worries in the world, but the combination of human ingenuity and the complexity of natural systems means that science is never quite as settled as publicity seeking scare mongers want people to think. The future doesn’t look as grim as the doomsayers want to make it, and our ability to meet its challenges is surely greater than those eco-pessimists believe.