This commentary, authored by Food Chain Reaction game designers Kate Fisher and Yee San Su of CNA, first appeared in The Wilson Center’s New Security Beat Blog on February 23, 2016.
The year is 2022. Strong El Niño and La Niña events in successive years have drastically reduced wheat yields in India and Australia and increased the range of certain pests and plant pathogens in the Western Hemisphere. Moreover, a drought across North America has reduced corn and soybean yields significantly. Global commodity prices are up 262 percent over long-term averages. These price increases are compounding other social and economic challenges, contributing to social unrest in several food-importing nations.
Although it’s a fictitious setting for a game, the preceding scenario may not be far-off from becoming a reality. Since 2005, the world has experienced two major food crises. Price spikes during 2007 and 2008 caused 36 nations to request emergency food aid, prompted export restrictions and panicked buying, and contributed to civil unrest in more than 40 developing countries. Food riots threatened regional stability across Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Researchers have attributed past food crises to the rare confluence of several factors, such as the combined effect of droughts in major grain-producing regions, government policy decisions (e.g., biofuels policies), and economic conditions. Looking ahead, however, population growth and changing consumption patterns, particularly in developing nations, will require significant increases in agricultural production – despite a shrinking rural labor force, limited availability of new farmland, growing water stress, and increasing risks from climate change. These stresses will likely increase the risk of future global food crises if actions aren’t taken now.
Read the complete post on The New Security Beat at https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2016/02/its-play-food-learned-global-food-security-game/