A recent Columbia University study found that a major natural disasters may cause the near-total destruction of the food supply in the United States. This failure will make the United States and others more vulnerable to potential disasters.
According to the International Catastrophe Index, Université catholique de Louvain – Brussels – Belgium, climate-related natural disasters rose by more than 100 per cent between 1980 and 2019. The research tries to explain how the U.S. is equivalent to a natural catastrophe. Dust Bowl – which led the wheat production to decrease by 36 per cent in the 1930s – would have an impact on global agricultural trade.
How Natural Disasters affect food
Researchers believe that it will consume 94 percent of U.S. wheat stocks kept for emergency food supply. That will slash shipments of wheat in half too.
Additional studies suggest that although the reserves are adequate to temporarily fight off food shortages, the U.S. and its trading partners will become increasingly vulnerable to any future crisis.
“With more severe weather related to climate change. We need to have safety nets in place for farmers and farming populations in the near term. If they suffer a sudden crop failure”. Alison Heslin, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University and Co-author of the report says.
The researchers used a food shock cascade model to explain the consequences of natural disasters. An economic tool which simulates a shortage of food supplies. The model takes into account data on the production of wheat at country level, stocks and trade.
Heslin describes that in the study-modelled catastrophe scenarios agricultural reserves are important. According to the Center for Agriculture & Trade Policy, they help ensure that adequate food is available during adverse weather conditions, and that food prices remain steady.
Heslin also says reserves should be composed of various crops to be more successful. “A broad profile of nutrient sources will help to minimize risks from output shocks in a given commodity or area”. Heslin also said.