Preparation Necessary for Major Food Crisis Unveiled

Last year, powerful global interests played a game with food in Washington, D.C.

The Food Chain Reaction presented policymakers, agricultural and environmental experts, and business leaders from India, Europe, China, the United States, Brazil, and Africa, with a scenario in the near future where pressure mounted on the global food system. The two-day gaming scenario was organized by the World Wildlife Fund and the Center for American Progress, as well as private-sector food giants Cargill, CNA, and Mars.

The participants represented major food producers and consumers from the years 2020 to 2030, as the game’s designers slowly upped the ante with crisis after crisis. Drought in North America’s breadbasket. El Niño and La Niña events cutting yields in India and Australia. Skyrocketing commodity prices. Repeat flooding in Bangladesh. Social unrest. Coups. They were asked to design security, agriculture, climate, and foreign policy in response.

What did they learn?

Two participants, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Michael Werz, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, summarize the scenario in a new policy brief. They outline the steps they recommend the policy, academic, and international community should take to prepare for a major food crisis.

Experts need to share their expertise. When weather events caused staple food prices to rise, national security experts lacked basic knowledge about food security, while agriculture and environmental experts lacked knowledge about budgetary and political factors limiting governmental responses. “We need to move the food security conversation out of the confines of agricultural and humanitarian debates into more strategic, long term policy conversations that encompass global governance and security issues,” Werz told ThinkProgress.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/04/13/3768953/food-crisis-game/

Rod Waddington

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