The British National Farmers Union has just announced that this year’s wheat yields will be the lowest since the 1980s. Already, corn and soybean prices are at record highs as the worst drought in more than 50 years in the United States has added to supply worries caused by drought in Russia.
Fears are running high of a global food crisis like the one that led to rioting in poor countries in 2008.
As with everything, the grass is greener in some places than in others. In this case, the grain exporters may actually benefit from the droughts. Kazakhstan, for example, one of the world’s top 10 grain exporters, saw the value of its wheat exports soar by almost 500 percent between January and July this year compared with the same period in 2011.
So who are the big losers?
A sharp rise in food prices poses the most severe risks to Sub-Saharan Africa, while India is most at risk among the rapidly growing BRIC nations, according to the 2013 Food Security Risk Index compiled by political risk think-tank Maplecroft.
Nine out of 11 countries categorised as ‘extreme risk’ are in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the 2013 Food Security Risk Index topped by Somalia and followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo. The world’s youngest nation, South Sudan, made its sad debut on the index with a bang, propelled straight into the ‘extreme risk’ category.