In 1994, South Africa had over 200 000 farmers. We not only met local needs for staple foods like maize, wheat and sugar but we exported globally and aided neighboring counties in their feeding schemes. Fast forward to 2015 and we faced the biggest drought in a 100 years and it is still going strong. Rivers dried up, many animals died of heatstroke, exhaustion and dehydration. People lost millions of Rands and many farmers just gave up. Couple that with a huge increase in farm murders, the implementation of what is known as Black Economic Empowerment, land grabs and desputes and the steady rise of costs associated with farming and you have a huge problem. In the last 10 years we stopped exporting our excess staple foods and grain to foreign countries and instead started to import to meet our shortages. Granted we still export an assortment of fruits and vegetables so on but we rely heavily on maize and grains. Most of the people in dire poverty can still afford a small amount of maize to make porridge with and that is how they get by.
In a news segment tonight it was revealed that there is only 44 000 of the those 200 000 farmers left and out of these it is expected that 15 000 will file for bankruptcy after this December planting season. We are not alone in this. Global food production has fallen considerably and say that we are bound to be in trouble soon.
Given how desperate people already are (crime is astonishing here, people think nothing of it to rob others of what they have in order to provide for themselves. Looting is the rather frequent and people do it en mass to avoid prosecution. High jackings and house robberies have gone up year after year and they don't fear prosecution as our legal system is a joke. These crimes are often violent and many families have been destroyed by the this. Many law enforcement officials are corrupt and sell confiscated weapons to gangs and criminals while law abiding citizens have a hell of time getting weapons legally. Those who have the means, immigrate to other... Safer pastures even though the economic environment isn't much better.), I don't think that it would take much to push them over the edge in the event that there is no food.
Given the drought in Zimbabwe that is still ongoing after 10 years and the desperate situation in Venezuela... we can, to some degree determine how people will react due to countries like these. What are we going to do when the shelves are empty and there simply isn't enough food? Do you know where your food comes from and what is your local food security? Do you know what your nations current water situation is? I think that there are many lessons that we can learn from the unfortunate misery of others. My aunt recently started a potplant garden where each pot has something different growing in it. It requires little maintenance in comparison to a normal garden and some plants can be planted to even rid your mini garden of pesky bugs. Ideas like these are awesome ways to ensure that you and your family will have something to eat when times get tough and we all know that they are escalating on a daily basis.
Studies show that our world is getting hotter and climates are shifting and while South Africa is by no means a arid dessert we are a water short country and these temperatures are killing us slowly. Averages in my hometown have risen in winter and summers are harse. In spite of these other factors, one has look at the economic aspects this as well.
We have all heard our elders talk about the 'golden days' where they could buy two items for a fiver and although they earned a lot less, they could do so much more with it. The costs of living have been on the sharp increase since back then and most of us just barely scrape by as it is but what if they super inflate prices when there simply isn't enough for all? Studies show that annually we allocate larger and larger portions of our income towards food. Where would you cut money from in order to survive and what would you do in order to feed your children when there simply isn't enough?
As many people have stated lately there is something in the air and we can feel it drawing closer. An ominous air...if you will...We dont always know what is coming our way but we can at least try to be one step ahead. Are you ready?