Biden Official’s Spin is Opposite of Truth: Natural Fertilizer Cuts Crop Yields Compared to Chemical Ones
If “green justice compassion” is the type of development Power offers other nations, then no wonder nobody is returning Biden’s calls.
During the Obama era, few officials were as ludicrous as United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power.
She is back as the Biden’s Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development. Power is a strong contender for the worst Biden official appointment, even among a broad field of very deserving candidates.
Legal Insurrection readers will recall my concern that the war in the global breadbasket of Ukraine and Russia would impact the distribution of much-needed grain to many countries in Africa.
Additionally, Western sanctions on Russia, a significant exporter of potash, ammonia, urea, and other soil nutrients have disrupted shipments of those essential items. Fertilizer is key to keeping critically important grain yields high.
As my colleague, Mary Chastain, noted, during “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Power chortled that the global food shortage crisis would push farmers toward relying on more green energy.
Power literally concluded with: “So never let a crisis go to waste.”
This is not a good crisis. Famines are notorious for being deadly on a regional scale that is difficult to comprehend unless one has experienced food scarcity up close and personal…which I doubt Power has.
Interestingly, Sri Lanka decided to “go green” and use only natural fertilizers. The process decimated the crops.
The dramatic fall in yields follows a decision last April by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to ban all chemical fertilisers in Sri Lanka – a move that risks undermining support among rural voters who are key to his family’s grip on Sri Lankan politics.
Although the ban was rolled back after widespread protests, only a trickle of chemical fertilisers made it to farms, which will likely lead to an annual drop of at least 30% in paddy yields nationwide, according to agricultural experts.
The shortfall comes at a bad time for the island nation of 22 million people. Sri Lanka is in the throes of its worst economic crisis in a decade, foreign exchange reserves are at a record low and inflation is soaring, especially for food.
To put it in perspective: Where one farmer was able to get 60 bags of crop with chemical fertilizer, he was down to 10 bags going “natural.”
This is the type of green nightmare that Power is celebrating.
Unfortunately, if this is the thinking in Washington DC, the US and the rest of the world may be facing a food scarcity disaster as officials don’t find alternative paths to obtaining and distributing chemical fertilizers.
In Brazil, the world’s biggest soybean producer, a 20% cut in potash use could bring a 14% drop in yields, according to industry consultancy MB Agro. In Costa Rica, a coffee cooperative representing 1,200 small producers sees output falling as much as 15% next year if the farmers miss even one-third of normal application. In West Africa, falling fertilizer use will shrink this year’s rice and corn harvest by a third, according to the International Fertilizer Development Center, a food security non-profit group.
“Probably farmers will grow enough to feed themselves. But the question is what they will have to feed the cities,” said Patrice Annequin, a senior fertilizer market specialist for IFDC based in Ivory Coast. When you add increased hunger across West Africa on top of existing risks like terrorism, “this is absolutely dangerous for many governments in our region.”
For the billions of people around the world who don’t work in agriculture, the global shortage of affordable fertilizer likely reads like a distant problem. In truth, it will leave no household unscathed. In even the least-disruptive scenario, soaring prices for synthetic nutrients will result in lower crop yields and higher grocery-store prices for everything from milk to beef to packaged foods for months or even years to come across the developed world.
Brazil is opting to use chemical fertilizers smarter instead of going natural. Its largest farmers plan to reduce fertilizer use by a quarter next season, relying on more precise applications and soil testing to maintain crop yields.
LC Agricola SA, which cultivates an area bigger than Delaware with soybeans, corn and cotton, will probably use between 20% and 25% less fertilizer in 2022-2023 without jeopardizing yields, according to Chief Executive Officer Aurelio Pavinato. The decision on whether and where cut applications will be based on soil testing and precision agriculture, tools already adopted by the firm for several years.
If “green justice compassion” is the type of development Power offers other nations, then no wonder nobody is returning Biden’s calls.DONATE
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