Food prices were a huge problem across Latin America even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Thanks to surging fertilizer prices, the problem is getting worse.
I would like to begin this piece with a brief recap of the recent political drama in Peru, where the fledgling Pedro Castillo government is already on the ropes less than a year after it was formed. A combination of rising economic pressures and growing discontent with both the government and the congress sparked major demonstrations in late March. What began as a strike by farmers and transporters against the rising prices of fuel, agricultural products, particularly fertilizers, and road tolls has plunged the country into yet another political crisis.
Two Protests in One
As in the case in so many places these days, there is certainly plenty of dissatisfaction to go round. According to the left-leaning Spanish daily Publico, the recent protests in Peru are being driven by two ideologically opposed forces:
Teacher unions are demanding that the current president fulfill the reform program he set out when he won the elections. The right, for its part, continues to do its thing, pursuing its own interests amid the escalating tension and fomenting what it used to crack down on most severely: social protests. A regular demand of the protests, which reached their apogee in the middle- and upper-class neighborhoods of the capital, is the immediate departure of the Castillo government.
These are two protests of diverse origins, composition and demands, but ultimately they represent two flanks that threaten a government bedeviled by an incapacity to respond effectively, weak leadership and internal fractures.
The latest problems began with a nationwide truckers’ strike in late March. In Huancayo, a mid-sized city some 120 kilometers east of Lima, a demonstration culminated in pitched battles with the police. Three protesters died. On April 1, the protests reached Lima. Roadblocks were erected that caused shortages in many of the capital’s markets. Stores were looted and private property vandalized. Following three days of chaos President Castillo announced a national state of emergency followed by curfews in Lima and Callao.
Rather than stabilizing matters, the repressive measures merely underscored the government’s weak position. Within hours of declaring the state of emergency, the Castillo administration repealed it following a cacophony of complaints that it was unconstitutional.
Since then the government has tried to cushion the impact of rising priced by eliminating taxes on fuel and food. It has also increased the minimum wage and offered additional subsidies to farmers. These containment measures have helped relieve the pressure but probably only momentarily.
Following a string of corruption scandals involving myriad governments, the Peruvian people have lost virtually all faith in the political process. Six of Peru’s last seven presidents, dating all the way back to Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), have faced legal proceedings, investigations, convictions and even dismissal from Congress due to corruption cases. It is against this backdrop that Pedro Castillo, a virtual unknown, was able to take last year’s presidential elections by storm, narrowly winning the keys to Miraflores, Peru’s governmental palace.
But the Castillo government has had to contend with a largely hostile congress, which has blunted its ability to enact reforms. It has also been accused of its fair share of corruption scandals, with the result that patience is fast running out even among many of the government’s core supporters.
An even bigger problem for the Castillo government is that two of the main causes of the recent protests — surging energy prices and a severe fertilizer shortage — are almost totally beyond its control.
Spreading Economic Fallout from Ukraine
Russia, as is now common knowledge, is the world’s largest exporter of fertilizers. Those exports are being impacted by surging energy prices, Western sanctions and the Russian government’s decision, in mid-March, not to export a string of products, including fertilizers, to so-called “unfriendly” countries. While Peru is not on that list, its imports of fertilizers have nonetheless been severely impacted.
The National Convention of Peruvian Agriculture (Conveagro), which represents the interests of agricultural unions and agricultural producers’ associations, has warned the country’s acute fertilizer shortage could cause food production in Peru to fall by as much as 40% in approximately three to six months’ time. What little supply is coming in costs 410% more than the normal price, according to Conveagro’s president, Clínico Cárdenas.
Conveagro has been warning the Castillo government about tight fertilizer supplies for the past five months, says Cárdenas. Global fertilizer supplies were already under serious pressure long before the Ukraine conflict began. In a meeting with the Deputy Economy Minister and Minister of Agriculture in November Cárdenas was told a solution would be found within eight months, but he says that “so far nothing has happened.”
Kawsachun News, the English-language channel of the Bolivian radio broadcaster Radio Kawsachun Coca, reported earlier this month that Peru’s government has asked for help procuring supplies of Urea from neighboring Bolivia:
Bolivia’s state-owned fertilizer plant will massively boost sales to Peru as President Pedro Castillo faces strikes and mobilizations over fertilizer shortages. The urea and ammonia plant in the Trópico of Cochabamba is set to cover half of what Peru has lost since Western sanctions on Russia began.
Peru’s Agriculture Minister, Oscar Zea, told the press on Sunday that, “We need 1.4 billion Soles [worth of fertilizer]; we have talked with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, where it was agreed that we are going to purchase this from Bolivia. They are close, and they now have 700 million Soles [worth of fertilizer] in available stock.”…
During the first quarter of this year, Peru imported 18,000 tonnes of urea. During the same period in 2021, the country imported 190,000 tonnes. The massive shortfall has caused prices to skyrocket.
Massive Dependence on Russian Fertilizers
Peru is not alone in feeling the effects of the global fertilizer shortage. As I reported on March 11, in “Latin America, As a Whole, Refuses to Embrace Total Economic War Against Russia, Latin America” is massively dependent on Russia for fertilizer components:
According to Statista, nitrogenous, potassium and mixed fertilizers together accounted for almost 40% of all Latin American imports from Russia in 2019. Other key imports include semi-finished steel (15%) and petrol (12%).
Higher prices and prolonged shortages of Russian fertilizers could have a severe impact on agriculture in the region, which is already suffering from spiraling input costs. If Russian fertilizers stop arriving in the region, the result will be even higher food prices for the foreseeable future.
As Quartz reports, Brazil, whose economy is already mired in a stagflationary recession, is the largest importer of fertilizer in the world:
Its top supplier is Russia—providing Brazil 22% of its imports. In October 2021, Russian fertilizer exports were restricted, following a fear of a shortage. The smaller export supply led to higher prices. In fact, right before the invasion, Brazilian authorities were in Russia trying to negotiate a deal. Now with war and sanctions, Brazil’s buyers may need to look elsewhere.
The type of fertilizer Brazil imports is a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium known as NPK. Farmers rely on the potassium, to prevent diseases in their fields. In Brazil, it’s used to grow soybean, coffee, and other crops. Soybeans are the biggest money-maker for Brazil, the majority going to China, and shortages could reverse recent gains in the relationship’s growth.
Brazil’s government is now negotiating to try to procure more potash from Belarus, which is easier said than done given that Belarus is also subject to U.S. sanctions. As Bloomberg reported on April 6, one way around this conundrum would be for Belarus to sell potash to the Russian market, which could prompt Russian companies to export more:
But as of today, Russians are not able to export sizable quantities, according to CRU Group analyst Humphrey Knight. Even amid all that distress, some vessels are slowly being booked to bring fertilizers out of Russia to Brazil, but the volumes are small and buyers are not disclosing details. Russia limited sales of its nutrients abroad and many ports and shipping lines balk at Russian freight.
Another Bloomberg article, from a day earlier, asserts that Brazil is scheduled to receive its final wave of much-needed fertilizer from Russia over the next few weeks, “before supplies plunge due to the Ukraine war”:
Dozens of Russian vessels laden with fertilizer are heading to Brazil, with a final ship unloading May 5, according to StoneX analysts. After that, it’s anyone’s guess where Brazil, which imports 85% of the fertilizer it needs, will get supplies as war disrupts shipments in Russia, the top supplier.
In Colombia, where Russian fertilizers account for around one-fifth of all fertilizers used, the government is trying to source alternative supplies from Canada. Argentina imports 61% of the fertilizers it needs. Fifteen percent comes from Russia, making it, like Brazil, vulnerable to the global shortages.
The situation in Mexico, where just under a third of the country’s fertilizer needs during the first quarter of 2021 were met with imports from Russia, is arguably even worse. Some growers in the states of Puebla and Guanajuato are reporting price increases of as much as 300%, reports Forbes Mexico.
“Those most affected by the increase in fertilizer prices are small owners,” Luis Eduardo González Cepeda, president of the Mexican Union of Agrochemical Manufacturers and Formulators (UMFFAAC). “We have worrying reports that some farmers have reduced the dose of fertilizers from 30% to 50%. In the Bajío region they have reduced the area planted, due to the uncertainty over the prices at which they will be able to sell their crops.”
A Deep-Rooted Problem
Food prices are already a huge problem across Latin America. As I’ve noted in previous articles, they account for a larger share of inflation indexes in Latin America than in advanced economies, meaning that surging food prices have played a larger role in overall inflation. And inflation is already at a 24-year high of 6.82% in Peru, a 21-year high of 7.45% in Mexico, a 19-year high of 11.35% in Brazil, a 6-year high of 8.5% in Colombia and a 14-year high of 9.4% in Chile.
In Mexico year-on-year prices of many of the foods that make up the basic food basket have skyrocketed. The average price of a kilo of onions, for example, has surged by 199% over the past year, according to monitoring by the Agricultural Markets Consulting Group (GCMA).. The average price of a kilo of lemons is up 114%. By the end of March the average cost of a basic food basket had risen by 13.4%, almost double the official inflation rate.
Latin America was already in the grip of a major food crisis before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, largely but not only due to the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting supply chain crisis. According to a paper published by the Pan American Health Organization in November 2021, food prices started surging long before the pandemic and have risen more than 18% on average in LA5 countries since January 2020.
“We must say it loud and clear: Latin America and the Caribbean is facing a critical situation in terms of food security,” said Julio Berdegué, FAO’s Regional Representative, in 2021. There has been an almost 79 percent hike in the number of people living in hunger from 2014 to 2020.”
Another global supply chain shock, this time involving fertilizers, would send agricultural costs and by extension food prices spiraling even higher. This partly explains why so many countries in Latin America are so loath to publicly support the economic war being waged against Russia: they are terrified of losing all access to Russia’s fertilizer exports.
For 2022, the FAO simulations project two possible scenarios. The first foresees an 8% increase in the price of wheat. The second, more severe scenario envisages a 21% increase in the price of all cereals, leaving 13 million more people facing famine conditions in Latin America . As we have already seen in Sri Lanka, when large segments of the population go hungry, political stability tends to crumble very quickly.
I wonder if the high prices for Nitrogen fertilizer will eventually drive up the prices of sustainable alternatives, such as seed for clover and other Nitrogen-fixing ground covers and the corresponding inoculants.
Even before the war broke out, the Irish Agricultural advisory service was suggesting to arable farmers here that they should look at planting legumes such as peas this year if there was a choice. The lower value of legumes is partly off-set for farmers by cheaper inputs.
They have also been pushing hard to get farmers to add legumes (clover) to grassland mixes.
Is alfalfa and clover not common in Irish pasture already? In NZ we rely on clover/alfalfa/rye pretty much everywhere, although with minor variations in the species involved.
One problem is that clovers fixation of nitrogen (via rhizobium) shuts down in the presence of fertiliser, so adding a bit to the field reduces the net nitrogen available, and you need to add a lot.
Alfalfa is not commonly grown in Ireland or the UK. Too wet for too long I think.
Occasionally grown as a cover crop but mainly fodder rape, oats, oilseed and leafy turnip.
Clovers can be used with fertiliser up to 200 kg/N/ha, but the nitrates limit is generally <170 kg/N/ha. Higher rates end only end up polluting rivers but that does not stop many of the derogations to the nitrate regs.
I grow alfalfa in my kitchen in Dublin (sprout jar!). But yes, it needs dry conditions and I think more heat in the summer (the latter is I think the reason they can grow it in Denmark where its an important cattle feed crop). Maybe climate warming will change that, they are already growing more hops in Ireland, it never used to grow here properly.
So far as I’m aware, clover is the only reliable grassland legume for northern latitudes. Some varieties of peas and beans can be grown for tillage cropping.
Good point, Samuel. In Colombia they are actually developing organic fertilizers using coca leaves. According to one of the people involved in the Coca for Peace project: “We achieved wonderful results, such as a decrease in the number of work days, a decrease in the amount of water needed for vegetable crops… We found it has high levels of… crude protein that is synthesized as fiber in the human body; it also has high levels of iron and calcium,” added the Coca for Peace coordinator.”
Here’s a link to the original article (in Spanish): https://www.bluradio.com/nacion/hoja-de-coca-serviria-como-fertilizante-para-compensar-escasez-por-guerra-en-ucrania-pr30
An intriguing though that. Of course different areas would have different options available to them though in a lot of areas, there may be historical memories about how things were done before the introduction of imported fertilizers. Maybe there will be a shift away to crops that do not need so much fertilizers. I suspect that there may be a lot of latent knowledge out there that farmers may now be more willing to look at so this may be one of those articles which should have at the end of it ‘Watch this space for further developments.’
I’m not a farmer, but I would think that decisions on what crop to plant would have been made long ago. Last minute changes are probably not feasible to any great extent because the amount of the inputs (seeds, etc.) would have been determined last year. Also, it seems likely that the farmers would have contracted for the supply much earlier, and changing would be difficult. A few years ago, corn (CBOT ZC) had to be about $3.50/bu for the farmer to break even, but I see that corn now is close to $8.00/bu. Farmers would stick with corn if the price covers the increased input cost.
Gabe Brown grows corn. He grows it without any Haber Bosch nitrogen. How does he do that?
Gary Zimmer grows corn. He grows it without any Haber Bosch nitrogen. How does he do that?
Those Latin American farmers who decide to learn how to grow crops without Haber Bosch nitrogen the way Gabe Brown and Gary Zimmer and so few other American farmers that every single one of them could be named will make it through the Darwin Filter of high priced Haber Bosch nitrogen. Those who can’t, or who refuse to learn how to do so because of stupid pride, won’t make it through the Darwin filter of high priced Haber Bosch nitrogen.
The God of Selection is a Callous God, and Its first True Prophet was Darwin.
You almost make a good point, but do so like a douche!
These are real people who might die from starvation, don’t confuse pride with a multitude of reasons, from, funnily enough, fear of starvation, being conned by fertiliser companies etc.
Yes both Gabe and Gary no longer use NPK, but it was a journey to get there not over night and I believe Gabe still uses herbicides occasionally.
I am an organic farmer so have a clue what I’m talking about.
I dearly hope this crisis can open enough people’s eyes to the fact that once they transition to a more natural system, and build back the biology they killed with the npk, they no longer need it.
There is thousands of kilos of nitrogen in the air above every farm, similar potassium in every soil, and any farmer who has ever used phosphorus still has the vast majority in their soil, as almost all applied phosphate will be complexed and plant unavailable between 2-6 weeks after application!
So although I hope for a regenerative npk free future, I’m not naive enough to think most can just walk of the fertiliser cliff to get there over night!
You are correct about the multi-year process involved to re-innoculate carefully chemo-sterilized soil to the point where it can again support the bio-life needed to support chem-free agriculture.
And you are correct about the fear and other things involved in preventing chemo-locked-in growers from re-correcting the bio-basis of their soil-resource and agri-program.
I should confine my douchetude to the Big Corporate Growers who can very well afford to divide their vast holdings into sections and march their holdings over to eco-bio-methods one section at a time, but who refuse to do it.
Gabe Brown’s neighbors can very well see what Brown is doing. They in particular choose not to. For example. Douchetude is all I can feel for them in particular, for example.
I hope your customer base is willing to pay whatever premium price they have to pay in order to keep you in business against the ongoing tide of Mainstream Cancer Juice Agriculture. I pay those higher prices where I live to keep the eco-bio growers in foodshed in business.
Given your knowledge base, comments from you about your experience-based knowledge of the how-to would be valuable here. Gardeners and wannabe-gardeners would be interested in reading what you have to write.
As for myself, while I will try restraining my douchelike impulses much of the time, the douche-o-genic times we live in will lead me to write like a douche again from time to time.
As to my last two paragraphs, ( the douchey ones ) , if somebody can find a non-douchey way to say it, that would be welcome. But the ongoing super shortages and super price-rises of Chemo-fertilizer will indeed be a harsh Darwin filter , and that will remain a fact no matter how nicely and politely stated. As the Foreign Minister of CommuNazi China said to the foreign minister of Singapore in some Asianation meeting . . . ” China is a big country and other countries are small. That is just a fact.”
What a douche! But was he wrong?
The rise in fertiliser prices predates the Ukraine War – it started due to the energy crisis in China last summer. Farmers here in Ireland have been warned about the need to reduce inputs since last September at least, so they’ve had warning.
If it encourages regenerative agriculture, permaculture, agroforestry, and other forms of farming that don’t depend on chemical fertilizer made from fossil fuels, it could actually be a positive thing.
FIL is a retired dairy/crop farmer in one of MI’s breadbaskets. His report as of last weekend was that nitrogen inputs are roughly 400% higher than normal ($13-1400/ton), potassium is about the same price increase. The real problem is phosphorus, which is not available in quantity at any price. And the other serious problem is that most of the other major inputs for industrial agriculture are available. The pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. (These, I assume are related to German chemical production.)
Farmers are stoic gamblers, but he gave off the air of deep concern for this season. Expect a lot of farms to go under in addition to the shortages and price hikes that will have to be passed along to consumers.
talk about priorities…bank bailout happened in 1 weekend in 2008.
It is plainly obvious that small and mid-sized farmers need working capital for the planting season. give farmers 0% loans to buy the inputs for planting season secured solely by the harvest….$x per acre.
I don’t even know who the Ag. Secretary is without looking itmup. Total failure of leadership and administration by him-her and Klain, the White House chief of staff. And of course, i don’t expect biden is even half aware what is going on outside of what is fed to him in his briefings
He started farming in 1977 and got essentially the same wholesale price for milk when he retired in 2012iah (not adjusted for inflation, same price).
Farmers have access to quite a bit of funding, but it gets siphoned off by the corporations farmers have to work with to achieve the scale demanded by the market. The really successful farmers who are the ones who can play the game of finance and maximizing government help. His 400 head of dairy cattle and several hundred acres of field crops is not a sustainable business model anymore. It was pretty big in terms of scale through the mid-90’s.
Yves identified the problem of Ag industry intermediaries at Yves Smith March 27, 2022 at 12:05 pm
Maybe the food price hikes will be high enough to torture 50 million suburbanites into growing some garden food without any Haber or Bosch . . . . even if they really didn’t want to.
Pardon the commercial, but it’s 2022. People should understand that alternatives to synthetic nitrogen and the Haber-Bosch process now exist that are far cheaper, easier, and more environmentally friendly.
Pivot Bio, forex ….
“Pivot Bio was born out of an ambition to replace synthetic nitrogen fertilizer with a more sustainable and safer tool for farmers …that enables microbes to reliably produce nitrogen for cereal crops – a discovery that has been chased by scientists for decades, and never available commercially until now. Pivot Bio microbes take nitrogen from the air and make it available for plants, replacing the need for synthetic nitrogen.
“Pivot Bio released its first commercial product for corn, Pivot Bio PROVEN®, to U.S. farmers in 2019 … and the company expanded its product portfolio in 2020 with Pivot Bio RETURN® for wheat and introduced sorghum in 2021.
This is a game changer, if it works well.
This is one of many microbial inoculants on the market. It probably contains Azotobacter amongst other microbes, for it’s nitrogen fixing abilities.
They make it seem like they are the ones who have invented this, they haven’t it’s a naturally occurring bacteria that’s sold in many products around the world. This will just be a selection of a few strains of different microbes that have been shown to work in particular settings etc.
This is just one of many similar products on the market!
Yes we need to rebuild the soils microbiome after years of destruction from fertilisers and all the ‘cides, and shop bought microbial inoculant are part of the answer, but getting a diversity of locally adapted microbes, will probably be more effective, being local they are adapted to the exact weather conditions etc of your location, owing to living and adapting in the climate for thousands/millions of years.
They have started to find that before we commenced the extermination of microbes in farm land there were nitrogen fixing bacterial adapted to most plants, now a days we only know then for legumes!
We have so much to learn, this product might help, but it’s just a product like any other, it’s not a solution in and of its self!
Liam: They make it seem like they are the ones who have invented this, they haven’t it’s a naturally occurring bacteria that’s sold in many products around the world.
No, you couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, I’m aware that microbial inoculants have been around since c. 1896. But, again, it’s 2022, and they have invented this.
So, yes, they created–and are creating–a diverse selection of 40-odd microbes for each specific crop out there. But they first designed each microbe in silico so every pathway would be optimized for what they want it to do, although using–yes–models like Azotobacter and Azospirillum in some cases.
Then they built the actual bugs, using CRISPR gene-editing. These microbes are enhanced beyond anything existing in nature.
If you’re offended because you’re on a mission from God to promote ‘natural’ organic farming, that’s fine. But some of us are concerned because there’s a planet full of eight billion people–soon to be ten–to feed and climate change to deal with, and the current methods of industrial farming are environmentally ruinous.
Ye Gods man!
In 1 gram of healthy soil there is more than 40,000 species of different bacteria. But some how humans from California, the centre of global capitalism, believe that they in a few years can edit a couple of bacteria that are better than the diversity of literally billions of years of evolution? sure gonna save the world, like the rest of the GM, or…………… Just put money in their bank accounts! Any way horizontal microbial gene transfer that occurs naturally, means any gene editing they do will be released into nature and either spread like wildfire or disappear into the soup never to be seen again!
There is increasingly mounting evidence to show that GM crops can not reach a naturally high level of health, exhibit all sorts of weird reactions, like producing root exudates similar to the drugs we use for organ transplants to stop us reflecting the organs!
Peer reviewed research is also increasingly showing that individual microbes anre nowhere near as effective as groups/families of different microbes. But it’s much easier to research individual microbes, as science is set up to change only 1 parameter per experiment. Hence why these people talk about individual microbes for particular plants. Funnily enough if you edit it you can patent it and make more money………
I’m sorry my friend but this approaches nonsense and for anyone who’s actually interested in regenerative agriculture, growing nutrient dense food and is capable and willing to read actual scientific papers, companies like this might claim what like your last paragraph does, which is pretty similar to what the fertiliser companies have and are still trying to say to farmers! But it’s a crock son! It’s just another Californian attempt to use technology to move money from our pockets to theirs.
Some of us are not so concerned with feeding these 8-10 billion people!
Why because we already produce more than enough food for this many people every year, year in year out. We don’t have a food problem we have a distribution problem. I believe something like 1/4 of corn in the US isn’t even used for food at all, perhaps you could stop that first if your concerns are feeding humans!
Oh and I’m not concerned about God, as don’t believe in figments of the human imagination, like Californian tech doing anything but negatively impacting the world!?
Who are some of the farmers outstanding in their field in the field of organic agriculture?
Are Klaas and Mary Howell Martens as well respected as I think they are? What are some other names? What are some good books ( if any) for the self-educating layman who wants to know more?
Massive fertilizer shortage, yet the greatest source of fertilizer is ignored; the toilet. I think I could maintain a food forest with a Humanure setup, and from burning and processing invasive alien trees to make potash.
Unfortunately, sewage is poisoned both directly from various personal and cleaning products, and from so much of the highly processed food we ingest.
If the alien trees were fast growing and coppiceable, they could provide a source of burnable wood for potash for centuries for your small operation.
I live in a former British colony. Bamboo was introduced for erosion control puposes during the colonial era. Now it is a major pest and general fire hazard.
I wonder if it is good for potash production.
There are so many kinds of bamboo and so few will grow in Michigan at all, even if given tender loving care, that all I know basically is what I read.
If the bamboo you have grows as fast as what I have read about, it could be used for all kinds of things if various thing-users and thing-makers re-orientated what they do to use bamboo. It would be a good source for whatever minerals are left behind in the ash. I believe it is a high silica-uptaker. If so, bamboo ash would be a good source of mineral silica, among other things.
But what if it were only semi-burned, down to some released usable heat-energy and also some biochar? The biochar could be mixed into soil in whatever way seems appropriate and enough of the bamboo could be harvested-in-place to reduce its fire-hazard level. If some stalks are growing even as other stalks have died, perhaps the dead stalks could be cut for burning or biocharring or any other use one has in mind so that only live green stalks are left standing. Would that lower the fire hazard? If it would, then it could be like a kind of super-coppice renewable stalk-source.
I just had another idea for bamboo. Harvest it on rotation and chip it up for bamboo chips in the spirit of wood chips to use for agriculture and soil enhancement. Perhaps ramial bamboo chips could be as good as ramial wood chips. They might become so popular in your country as to incentivise people to turn a bamboo surplus into a bamboo shortage.
If with wood, why not with bamboo?
Well, then, the composting toilet could be the next step for the backyard food garden. See: https://en.wikipedia.org wiki/Composting_toilet
The US Forest Service uses these with a large volume (10″ dia.) vent stack to extract odor and make the sitting experience more “comfortable” for city dwellers. (A hand-washing stand alongside is recommended.)
Humanure makes complète sense as it’s a waste product that could be a boon not a burden.
However the obsession of npk is not necessary have a listen to this if you want to understand the n and K sides at the very least:
Peru had become a basket case before this crisis. Reading this article just hammers home to me (having a Peruvian wife) that the crisis is just beginning. There is no crisis like a food shortage in Peru. Peruvians don’t stock up. They go to the store every day or every other day. Rising input and direct food costs are felt there almost immediately. In my mind this leads to a real civil war.
These shortages are going to lead to a lot of unrest all over the world. My worry is that the result will be the election of many far-right leaders.
Absolutely brutal Reuters graphic showing countries obtaining 50% to 100% Share of wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine
clearly these countries are going to re-orientate their agricultiure to feeding their populations and away from the IMF’s much beloved cash-crops. As we have seen in Russia, having actual “stuff” like food is way more useful than having dollars.
Yes, it’s always important to remember that: food will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no food.
I wonder when Iran and Cuba are going to open consulting agencies on how to get around sanctions? Seems like the first logical step is to quit using the dollar for all your businesses.
If you had told me ten years ago that the US would so openly pursue policies which force countries away from using the dollar, away from using the dollar based banking system – I would have said you were crazy, but here we are. In hind site, these sanctions, just like the whole “War on Terror” are going to be viewed as a huge foreign policy mistake. This is like the Anti-Marshall Plan on steroids.
Cuba might want to open consulting agencies on how to grow food with very little outside purchased inputs at all.
All this so we could make Ukraine a platform for destabilizing Russia. All could have been avoided by simply not expanding NATO any more and making Ukraine neutral. Wow….a war of choice. I just sent my taxes in so we can buy 3 billion in arms to send to Ukraine and that is just the down payment. Russia’s entire military budget (66 billion) is smaller than what Lockheed Martin alone bills the government. (75 billion) and about the size of France’s or Italy or Germany. The US budget is one trillion. No wonder we are crushing the Russians. War is about logistics and supply and we are fighting one for regime change in Russia. We have taxation without representation. Our superiors are telling us Russia is going to take on all of Europe with a military that has been funded to 8% of the US military? And it looks like there are lots of believers.
“Kawsachun News, the English-language channel of the Bolivian radio broadcaster Radio Kawsachun Coca, reported earlier this month that Peru’s government has asked for help procuring supplies of Urea from neighboring Bolivia.”
I’d say it was a good time for land-locked Bolivia to negotiate for access to the Pacific ocean through Peru! They’ve been trying for access through Chile for generations. I believe an international tribunal is to make a decision on the matter in due course (due course for that tribunal isn’t in months, but years!).
The level of deal-making following on the heels of de-globalization is going to be breathtaking. National boundaries will be re-written, things never imagined to be possible will become reality.
I’m asking all my favorite reads from this site to Project Syndicate to CounterPunch to Matt Taibbi and a dozen others to headline how America must negotiate rather than fight with Russia. Today it’s energy and fertilizer scarcity. Tomorrow (and it should be today) it’s supporting each other around the globe to fight the climate crisis.
I’d love to see every progressive site demand that our children and their struggling parents be put first before any war, especially a meaningless war which could have been prevented.
By headline, I mean “put the demand in the masthead”.
Some of my favorite reads say they are just reporters. Can that still stand when crises are existential?
The big issue with the Castillo admin is that nobody wants to tie themselves to a very unstable government ever since the one serious attempt to make a ruling coalition failed because the only other faction that was ever going to work with the Castillo admin, the progressives, bailed between all the corruption scandals and being constantly insulted since it galled to the macho Cold War cosplayers having to rule alongside women and minorities.
The Lima curfew was a particulary pathetic example of the lack of power of the Castillo admin. Dropped suddenly on the middle of the night, and with cops being unwilling to do much to support it, it naturally caused one of the greatest protests on recent years since people lacked things to do besides stew on the economic shock of losing an entire work day AND a day of public services.