Winemaking has added to the list of economic branches hit by global warming. This year’s draught cut grape harvest estimates, causing global wine production to slump to its record low in decades. The French wine producers harvested 20% less grapes than anticipated. Meanwhile, economists are warning of looming food shortages. In about 30 years, a not-so-distant future, the world may face an acute deficit of bread and other basic foods, making people forget about wine.
The combined food price index published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in July shows that food prices peaked at their historic maximum of 238 points in February 2011. After falling steadily over more than a year, prices soared again by as much as 6% in July 2012 to 213 points. Droughts in Australia, Brazil, India, Russia and the United States, the world’s key exporters of food, pushed grain prices up. Prices for American corn skyrocketed by 40%.
FAO experts are forecasting a slowdown in global agricultural production from 2% to 1.7% over the next decade. Meat, poultry and grain prices will continue to rise, whereas the total area of cultivated land worldwide will shrink. Global warming and changes in the global food balance will be a severe blow to developing nations. Their combined agricultural production may plummet by 20%, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Grain and fodder crops grown in drought-prone areas along a huge territory stretching from Portugal and Morocco to western China to southern Russia and Central Asia will be the hardest hit with harvests expected to drop by nearly one-third.