The UN has just warned that the world may be about to face a “hunger pandemic” in addition to the coronavirus pandemic that originated in China. This new, additional, pandemic is creating a looming global food shortage that would affect, potentially, all of mankind. A UN spokesperson warned that due to a number of converging factors, the world is facing a famine of “‘biblical proportions” within a few months if immediate action isn’t taken (emphasis added)” See the first link. It isn’t often that I agree with the UN, but this is one time I think their warning is appropriate. The first link cites wars, economic dislocations, and the locust plague now consuming food supplies in East Africa. A post earlier this month examined in detail the immense locust swarms that are threatening the food supplies of at least nine African nations, and they could spread to an even wider area. A variety of wars have been raging for years and these have reduced local populations to famine in such areas as Yemen, South Sudan, Syria, etc. This post will primarily examine the economic dislocations and food shortages coming from the restrictive measures taken to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The UN also warns that “more people could potentially die from the economic impact of Covid-19 than from the virus itself.” That may, indeed, come to pass in our immediate future.
While wars and locust swarms are devastating food supplies in Africa and Asia, the western world is threatening its own food supplies in its hasty reactions to the Covid-19 pandemic. These measures affect the entire developed world, but I will focus on actions taken in the USA where I live. The second link reports that dairy farmers are pouring milk down drains or on the ground rather than shipping it to markets. The problem is nationwide as dairy farmers in many American states are dumping their milk because prices and demand have collapsed. Schools and restaurants are closed all over the nation, and that means millions of daily servings of milk, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt are not happening in the school lunch programs. With restaurants closed by state governments, those governments are killing the dairy industry. Thriving restaurants create a very large demand for milk products, but harsh state government actions are destroying the demand for all dairy products so large amounts of milk are being dumped on the ground.
Meat-packing plants are closing in a variety of locations around the nations due to Covid-19 infections among plant workers (third link). This is lessening the nation’s meat supplies and this trend is likely to accelerate. When packing plants close, there is no one to buy the livestock of the ranchers and farmers who rely on slaughterhouses to take their livestock and process it into food. This affects both the beef and pork markets. My most recent post addressed the closure of the pork-processing plant in Sioux Falls, my home town, due to it being one of the worst national “hot spots” of Covid-19 infections in the nation. As an update, the CDC has toured the plant and made recommendations for reopening the plant but no re-opening date has been announced.
In what may be a surprise to many American consumers, the vegetable and fruit industries are also finding that, with the school lunch programs and restaurants shut down, they have no buyers for their ready-to-harvest products. As a result, entire fields of ripened vegetables are being destroyed or plowed under. I saw one TV news program where a tomato farmer was destroying his entire crop because there is no one to buy it now. Lettuce, squash, beans, and other crops are experiencing the same outcomes. The fourth link gives details about this disastrous situation, and the fifth link offers readers a variety of options to similar links showing how bad this problem is becoming.
Even chickens and the nation’s egg supply are at risk. The sixth link details how entire egg-laying operations are being shut down by the restrictive coronavirus measures being taken by American state governments. Not only are there suddenly few buyers for all the eggs being produced, but hundreds of thousands of egg-laying hens are also being euthanized because there is no immediate need for their eggs. Egg prices in grocery stores are going up, but countless eggs are being destroyed due to ill-advised government rules and many egg-laying operations cannot be restarted because of the foolish decision to kill off the hens who lay the eggs. The link describes how this has affected one farmer whose 61,000 hens were euthanized and it mentions five more egg-laying operations where even larger numbers of hens were killed so they can’t produce any more eggs.
The state of Maryland may soon be limiting the access of consumers to enter grocery stores. The seventh link details plans for a county in that state to allow people to enter grocery stores only based on the first letter of their last name. This will not only ration food but ration access to grocery stores. Government actions to fight Covid-19 have required many millions of American workers to lose their jobs and they now have no way to support their families. As a result, millions of suddenly-unemployed Americans are lining up in many cities to receive food from food banks or charity operations. One recent food distribution effort in San Antonio, Texas attracted thousands of people in immense lines of cars to obtain free food (eighth link). Some media reports indicated that 10,000 people were in line to get food at just this one food distribution site. Look at the photographs in the eighth and ninth links and visualize this kind of desperate need for food now starting to happen in cities all over America.
And lest we forget, climatologists are still warning that a mega-drought cycle is forming that will result in low rainfall throughout the American Southwest for many years to come (last link). Such a drought would limit how many vegetables, fruits, and nuts will be produced for the nation at California’s farms that depend on water from over-tapped wells and reservoirs from snowmelt. Also, do not forget that floods can destroy crops too, and the American Southeast has been hit with one major storm after another recently.
The above links focus on the USA, but similar circumstances are doubtlessly affecting the food supplies of all nations fighting the coronavirus pandemic with short-sighted measures that are destroying their own national food supplies and disrupting entire food supply chains. Looking at it from an American perspective, I have never seen anything like this in my life. Something has gone seriously crazy when a nation begins to force its own people into unemployment and destroys its own food supplies in an effort to fight a virus.
Matthew 24:6-8 prophesies that famines, wars, and pestilences will mark the time just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. We now have all of those factors occurring or imminent on a global scale. Revelation 6:1-8 echoes that warning and verse 6 foretells food will be rationed by price in the latter days due to its scarcity. What is tragic in America is that if we experience food shortages later this year, the shortages will be entirely self-inflicted; caused by panicky state governors who, in a wrong-headed effort to fight the virus, forbid people to earn a living and destroyed the food-production and food-distribution chains that had been functioning very smoothly. A significant percentage of America’s food supply is now being destroyed or is at risk due to governmental requirements. It may be that the entire nation will rue the day when so many state governors took actions which led to a food shortage in America.
I suggest that readers if they can, plant a garden to produce some of your own food this year. If you know how to can or pickle vegetables to preserve them, this would be a good time to do so. However, in some states (Michigan is one the last I knew) growing gardens is deemed a “non-essential” activity and garden stores have been closed by edict. Madness! Sheer madness! The UN may be right in warning that famines of biblical-proportions are approaching, and governmental policies in the USA could now cause a food shortage in the USA. When the voters realize their own state governments are responsible for the food shortage, they will be very, very angry.