The war in Ukraine has suddenly brought attention to food problems.
Stagnant exports and inability to plant crops have caused grain prices to rise. As a result, poor countries with weak economic foundations are unable to purchase food and are facing serious hunger problems. Although Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement to resume grain exports on July 22, Russian troops attacked the port of Odesa, a trade hub in southern Ukraine, on July 23, the day after the agreement was signed. The resumption of exports is again uncertain.
However, it is the poor countries that are facing starvation, and the general perception of the Japanese people is that the situation is a “fire on the other side of the river. In Japan, it is unthinkable that food would be in short supply even if prices were to rise. In fact, according to data published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, global grain supply and demand are in balance. However, Professor Manabu Takahashi of Ritsumeikan University’s Center for the Study of Pacific Rim Civilizations disagrees with our “assumption.
The amount of grain consumed by the USDA is not only for human consumption, but also for livestock feed and biofuel, and the amount consumed for human consumption, such as staple foods, is only 43% of the total. 43 The problem is that only about 43% of the total is consumed for human consumption. The problem is that about The problem is that livestock and farmed fish account for about 36% of the total. The problem is that the amount used to feed livestock and farmed fish accounts for about 36% of the total. As economically poor countries become richer, they are consuming more and more meat. As a result, the amount of grain used to feed livestock is increasing rapidly. In other words, the amount of food for humans is being taken by cows and pigs.
Livestock are very inefficient in terms of grain consumption. For example, the amount of grain needed to produce 1 kg of beef requires 11 kg of corn, 7 kg of pork, and 4 kg of chicken.
It would be nice if we could all stop eating meat and start eating grains, even if it means killing the beef and pork farmers, but the reality is that this is not going to happen. Why not? Even if we take out the fact that the economy is based on the production and distribution of cows and pigs, once people eat something tasty, they can no longer eat bad food,” says Professor Takahashi.
On the other hand, China’s grain imports have been growing rapidly due to its rapid economic growth. Imports of soybeans, which totaled 50 million tons in 2010, have now exceeded 100 million tons, while wheat and corn imports, which totaled about 1 million tons each in 2010, will reach 10 million tons for wheat and 28 million tons for corn in 2021, an extraordinary increase of 10 to several dozen times. Soybeans and corn are mostly used for animal feed. Most soybeans and corn are used for animal feed, and wheat, originally intended for human consumption, is being imported in anticipation of its conversion to animal feed. This vast amount of imported grain consumed by China disappears mainly into the bellies of cattle and pigs. Of course, it would be nice if we could increase the production of grain that livestock consume so fiercely, but that is impossible with today’s technology.
Before World War I.” In 1906 In 1906, an aerial nitrogen fixation method was invented in Germany. This method succeeded in extracting nitrogen from the air in abundance as ammonia, which had been impossible until then. This made it possible to produce an inexhaustible supply of nitrogen, one of the three major elements of fertilizer (nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potassium), and food production increased dramatically. Since then, however, no revolutionary method of increasing food production has been found. We have reached the limit of our production capacity on the earth. We can only produce enough food for 10 billion people. The world’s population is growing by leaps and bounds. Meanwhile, the world’s population has grown to 8 billion. billion people. already about 800 million people are already starving. billion people are already on the brink of starvation. Despite this 1 billion people per year. 100 million people per year. billion people a year. 100 million people a year. The number of people who live in the United States is increasing by 100 million a year. A simple calculation shows that the number of In 20 years, there will be an absolute shortage of food. However, the number of livestock is growing faster than the number of people, and they are eating more and more of the food supply. In the next In less than 10 years, a serious food crisis will hit the world. In less than 10 years, a serious food crisis will hit the world, and people will starve to death, starting with those in countries without money.
Will Japan be able to ignore the food crisis that will come 10 years from now as if it were a “fire on the other side of the river,” as is the case with the current war in Ukraine?
There are a lot of people who think that Japan will be able to manage because there is a surplus of rice,” he said. But that is because there are many people who eat bread and noodles, and if for some reason we cannot import grain, there will not be enough rice at all. Japan’s Food food self-sufficiency rate is 37 The food self-sufficiency rate of major developed countries is 266% in Canada and 132% in the U.S.
The food self-sufficiency rate of major developed countries is 266% in Canada, 132% in the U.S., 125% in France, 86% in Germany, 65% in the U.K., and 60% in Italy. Japan’s food security does not function at all. And here comes the war in Ukraine. Ukraine is the world’s fifth largest exporter of wheat and fourth largest exporter of corn, but according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Economy, exports of both wheat and corn have dropped to one-fourth of what they were before the Russian invasion on a monthly basis. This amount of grain has disappeared from the world market as a result of a war that took place only in Ukraine. If the war had been global in scale, Japan would have been immediately caught up in the global food struggle, and many people would have died of starvation. Japan also faces a unique and significant risk.
I am most concerned about the Nankai Trough earthquake, which is sure to hit in the near future. In the event of a Nankai Trough earthquake, there is a good chance that industrial areas along the Pacific Ocean, Nagoya, Osaka, as well as the Tokyo metropolitan area will be devastated. The damage would be incomparable to the Great East Japan Earthquake in that industrial and densely populated areas would be hit across the board. If ports, highways, and other infrastructure are torn apart, it will be impossible to transport food to people in densely populated urban areas in the first place.
In addition, because the areas hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake were home to a high concentration of factories that produce key components and materials, even in areas not directly affected by the disaster, production was disrupted for companies that use these components as raw materials.
Without access to parts, destroyed factories, and port facilities, Japan will no longer be able to earn money by selling its products overseas. Japan will quickly become a poor country. Will we be able to buy grain, the price of which is skyrocketing? I hope I am alone in my fears, but having done disaster risk management based on environmental history, land development history, and disaster history, I don’t think so. ( (Ibid. )
The number of farmers in Japan is 1.3 million, or about 1% of the total population, and 900,000 of them are over 65 years old. And here and there, abandoned rice paddies and farmlands are spreading. The war in Ukraine may be an opportunity for Japan to wake up to the need for food security.
Photo： PIXTA Jiji Press