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By Vermel Thomas

Taking a bite out of my wallet by climate change

Taking a bite out of my wallet by climate change

Grocery shopping is causing me to develop sticker shock. Items that I once purchased for $3-4 are now $5+. Prices are expected to remain high as food production around the world tries to keep up with the rising demand for agricultural commodities like wheat and corn.

The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture on the Consumer Price Index have reported that household and consumer goods are probably going to rise from 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent by the end of 2017. Why are food prices rising so much?

To help answer this question, climate research institutions are looking at climate change, which is causing drastic changes in agricultural conditions, as the culprit. While the Earth’s temperature changes are causing some places to become wetter, other areas are becoming more arid. 1

Changing climatic conditions are forcing farmers to adapt to other methods for agricultural production. Climate changes could affect the quality of the growing season. If adverse conditions persist, i.e., droughts, floods, and fires, farmers could see increased damage to their crops.

World food production is at risk

Groups like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believe that the increase in drought and flood prone areas is projected to affect production adversely, especially in low latitudinal parts of the world, including:

o Central America

o Central and Saharan Africa

o Northern South America

o Southern India

o Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines

o The islands of the South Pacific

o Uganda, Kenya and

o West Indies

Also, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, climate change affects both environmental and socio-economic outcomes in agriculture by changing the availability and quality of land, soil, and water resources. It is further reported that all of these conditions are reflected in crop performance, which causes price increases.

Adverse condition highlights

The impact of climate change on the price of our food supply is attributed to other phenomena, e.g.: 2

o Crop pests and pathogens are migrating into new agricultural areas

o Night-time temperatures are negatively affecting crops like corn

o Extensive drought will destroy large areas of cropland, leading to increased prices

o Growing seasons are changing, reducing yields by 3.8 and 5.5 percent

o Higher seas are flooding rice field in many different areas

How do you communicate with a fish – “drop a line”

Another higher priced food product is also my favorite – fish. Climate change is projected to change the distribution of fish species and fisheries. World fisheries help to provide an important source of protein for at least half the world’s population. Fisheries are now being stressed by over-exploitation and pollution.

Warming ocean, river and lake waters, along with melting ice and the rise of our sea levels, will negatively affect many types of fish. Some marine species are now adapting by migrating to higher latitudes. Researchers believe that oceans are absorbing increasing amounts of carbon dioxide emissions, which directly pollutes my favorite food.


Looking beyond 2017, supermarket prices are expected to rise by 1.0 percent. Price increases will affect fish, poultry, seafood, and dairy prices. Unusual drought conditions within the U.S. could have lasting effects on vegetables, fruit, and egg prices. Presently, forecasts are based on normal weather patterns throughout the rest of this year. However, persistent severe weather events could possibly drive up food prices.

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