Onerous environmental regulations are driving up fertilizer and food costs

T.The recent spike in food prices is a result of dry weather in many countries of the world and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, at least part of the increase in food prices is due to fertilizer shortages and higher prices for plant-based foods.according to Bloomberg:

In Brazil, the world’s largest soybean producer, a 20% reduction in potash use could reduce yields by 14%, says industry consultant MB Agro. In Costa Rica, a coffee cooperative representing 1,200 small producers expects production to drop by up to 15% next year if farmers miss a third of their normal spraying. The International Fertilizer Development Center, a food security non-profit, says West Africa’s rice and maize crops are expected to shrink by a third this year due to reduced fertilizer use.

If temporary disruptions in fertilizer supplies and rising prices are already causing problems around the world, it’s hard to imagine why governments would want to support policies with such predictable and detrimental consequences. But imagine what we have to do now that governments around the world have decided that reducing fertilizer use is the key solution to climate change.

Sri Lanka has completely banned the use of commercial fertilizers.It didn’t work and their president was last seen
Escape from Sri Lanka
Far away from starving former subjects.

The European Union encourages a rapid shift to organic farming, which bans the use of commercial fertilizers. of the EU
Farm2Fork Initiative
has set a target of 25% organic production over the next 10 years.

Canada recently
promised to reduce fertilizer use
A 30% increase by 2030, but the Prime Minister at least tacitly acknowledges that his Sri Lankan colleagues may have gone too far.

the Dutch police
They are very upset that recent fertilizer recommendations will likely put many of them out of business and could cut their allowable nitrogen emissions by as much as 70%.

Here in the United States, the administration of President Joe Biden has imposed high tariffs on fertilizer imports, exacerbating fertilizer price hikes and hindering agricultural productivity.

The consequences of these policies are as easy to predict as to guess that a circular firing squad would not end well. Demand for food is inelastic. In other words, when supply decreases, prices will rise more (usually much more).

Food is a much higher part of a family’s cost of living for poor people than for their wealthier neighbors.
7% of living expenses
The highest-income quintile of the United States spent on food, while those in the lowest-income quintile spent 27% of their household budget on food.

No country will deliberately enact a tax that hits low-income consumers at a rate four times higher than that paid by the wealthy, but many governments are rushing to do just that for their food supplies. I’m in. If excess carbon is a problem, the solution is not to punish the world’s least consuming people.

As with many policies adopted to respond to climate change, measures taken in developed countries will not make a difference without cooperation from the rest of the world. The cuts will not change Brazil’s agricultural policy. For the same reason that reducing carbon emissions in the United States will not stop pollution in China.

Moreover, high crop prices caused by nutrient-poor crops will ensure that production expands into currently uncultivated areas, including marginal and environmentally sensitive agricultural lands in developed countries. of deforestation will become commonplace, completely undermining the environmental goals of these climate regulations.

In other words, government environmental regulation is costly and counterproductive.

Here in Missouri, crop prospects have plummeted over the past month due to dry, hot weather. Conditions in the eastern Corn Belt are improving, but the potential for outstanding yields so desperately needed by the world’s food supply has been lost. This is no reason to panic. Equities should look good over the next year, and commodity prices have weakened in recent weeks on good weather in the eastern Cornbelt and recession fears. But the fact remains that the world’s food supply is on the brink of shortage.

The weather cannot be improved. At least not in time to increase the yield. But we can avoid government actions that ensure that the poorest of us struggle to get enough food.

Blake Hurst is a farmer in northwest Missouri.

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