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Chinese Drought Could Cause Global Food Crisis

Mar 21 , 2011

A world kept busy lately watching, first, the revolts in the Middle East, and now, the tragic aftermath of the tsunami in Japan, should keep an eye too on the weather in China, where widespread drought may soon make the emerging global crisis over rising food prices much worse worldwide.

The worst drought in sixty years is threatening the wheat crop in China, the world's largest wheat producer. Traditionally self-sufficient in grain, the Chinese may be compelled to tap some of their $2.85 trillion in foreign exchange reserves to import wheat to feed their hungry people. This could further roil an already restive world by driving up food prices in many poorer countries that rely of necessity on increasingly costly imported food.

Many in those countries are already desperate for grain. World food prices are at record highs. The soaring price of food is placing millions at risk of malnutrition and hunger, and is stoking social and economic instability worldwide. As with the French Revolution in 1789, the unfolding Arab revolutions of 2011 have been inspired in part by the rising price of bread.

James Bacchus is a former Member of Congress, from Florida, and a former Chairman of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization.

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