There are complex supply chains around the globe that are depended on by certain countries for essential items, including food and drink. What it’s disrupted, the effects are touched worldwide. Supply chains have witnessed dramatic effects, caused by the global pandemic, to the point where Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had issed a statement to the nation’s supermarket advocating them to stock French products.
And it’s not just the pandemic, that has brought disaster to the supply chain, causing economic damage. Agriculture tends to take the biggest financial hits and losses during disasters such as extreme weather, which are becoming more frequent, intense, and complex. Between 2008 and 2018, agricultural disasters cost developing countries more than €908 billion, having a profound effect on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers who were already struggling against large corporations.
Coffret électrique encastré producer for the food industry, Electrix, takes a look at the disaster within the French wine market and other events around the globe that have impacted food and drink.
Cold climates ruin vines yards
Last year, France had experienced an unsual April of freezing temperatures and bitter frosts. . The initial record-warm early spring resulted in vines and fruit trees blooming earlier than they would usually, and they were then ruined by an unexpected bout of cold temperatures. Research has found that as the world’s temperature rises, the timing of seasons will change and become more severe.
Julien Denormandi, agriculture minister, commented: “This is probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jean Castex pledged €1bn in aid to winemakers and farmers. It may take years for some vineyards to recover.
France’s wine market has already been trying to deal with the effects of the pandemic that lead to a decreased demand from restaurants, due to them being closed. Donald Trump didn’t help things with tariffs on key French goods, including wine and cheese, which resulted in a near 14% dop in the French wine exports. . Furthermore, due to the effects of climate change, the flavours of wine will likely change or, in some cases, disappear forever. Merlot, for example, could become a thing of the past due to the grapes used in that particular wine being less resilient to changing weather patterns.
Rice demands too much water
More than three billion people see rice as a primary source of food and it helps prevent the world’s food crisis from worsening. Sadly, there is a risk of rising food insecurity for such a staple food.
India is experiencing both a water and agricultural crisis that has been developing for decades. Rice is one of the thirstiest crops that exist – farmers use 15,000 litres of water on average to grow one kilogram of paddy (rice plant). Rice is draining northern India’s Punjab of its groundwater, with the ground expected to be exhausted by 2039 and become comparable to a desert. A fifth of the world’s population lives in India, who only have four per cent of global water while simultaneously being the largest user of it with 90 per cent of their water used for agriculture.
India isn’t the only country struggling to grow rice due to a lack of water – countries in Southeast Asia such as China are facing the same challenge. Climate change is making extreme weather like flooding and droughts happen more regularly, making water difficult to source. Scientists are looking to develop new strains of rice that require less water and are more resilient to drought and climate change. Plus, water technologists in New Delhi are looking to design water management techniques that use no more than 600 litres of water for one kg of paddy.
A rise of rodents in Australia
Australia has faced the brunt of climate change, ranging from bushfires that devastated 27.2 million acres of land to damaged food and crops due to the largest plague of mice ever seen. Australian farmers are used to a mouse plague every ten years or so; however, with the planet warming up, they could become more regular with more mice than ever. The temperatures create the perfect breeding ground for the rodents, which then go on to destroy crops.
Farmers are even forced to burn their crops which have been infested with mice and mice urine.
A disaster-resilient future is possible if we develop sustainable agriculture. Preparing for risk management can help in reducing agriculture’s vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change.