United Nations secretary general António Guterres recently expressed grave concern over world food shortages in the wake of the Ukraine conflict (EU Observer, May 11, 2022). Prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel, and fertilizer are rising steeply. “For the first time ever, farmers the world over—all at the same time—are testing the limits of how little chemical fertilizer they can apply without devastating their yields come harvest time. Early predictions are bleak” (Bloomberg, May 1, 2022). Farmers around the globe face decreasing crop yields as fertilizer becomes less available and more expensive—a challenge for large farms that depend on fertilizer to push crop yields. A senior fertilizer market specialist in Ivory Coast in West Africa predicted, according to Bloomberg, “Probably farmers will grow enough to feed themselves. But the question is what they will have to feed the cities.” When fertilizer is scarce, people turn to alternate sources of soil nutrients, such as sewage sludge. But there are problems with using these often unsanitary or poisonous resources.
Estimates of the drop in crop production vary from location to location, ranging from 10 percent to as high as 40 percent. Decreasing crop yields mean less food availability and greatly increased food prices. When food prices rise without corresponding income increases, social unrest can set in, and nations that cannot produce their own food will suffer the most. Our interconnected world has created a situation of interdependency. When nations are interdependent and one nation fails to provide products (like Ukraine or Russia), other nations go without.
Bible prophecy foretells a coming time when oil and wine will be luxury items and a day’s worth of wheat will cost an entire day’s wages (Revelation 6:5–6). Difficult times are ahead, but thankfully, a time of great abundance will follow when Christ returns. For more on this topic, be sure to read or listen to our booklet Armageddon and Beyond.