With recent record heat waves, prolonged drought and wildfires damaging 25% of Russia’s crops, the government’s decision to ban 2010 exports in order to ensure adequate grain supplies is in turn likely to cause hardship in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where Russia’s largest exports are made.
Many of these countries, such as Egypt, where 40% of the people live on less than US$2 per day, rely on provisions of subsidized bread to maintain social peace.
The loss of Russia’s wheat this year will inevitably result in rising grain prices, which could have obvious adverse effects. Egypt, which in 2009 imported a third of Russia’s overseas wheat supplies and relied on Russia for 59% of her wheat imports, currently has a four month supply of the grain, and has issued requests to obtain wheat from other countries.
However, the government states that it expects the higher grain prices will cost up to US$705 million, an amount that will hinder its ability to begin reducing debt.
Meanwhile, with Russia’s heat wave being labeled the most extreme in a millennium by the country’s Meteorological Center, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told the nation’s Security Council that a change in approach is needed to address the more and more obvious effects of global warming.
He stated, “Frankly, what is going on with the world’s climate at the moment should incite us all (I mean world leaders and heads of public organizations) to make a more strenuous effort to fight global climate change.”
We are relieved to learn Egypt has enough supply for the next few months, and pray for adequate sustenance for all in need. Let us all act to conserve our precious grain supplies and stabilize the climate by adopting sustainable lifestyles such as the plant-based diet.
During a July 2008 telephone interview with Mr. James Bean, host of the US-based Spiritual Awakening Radio station, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the connection between global warming, food insecurity and our dietary choices.