Drishtikone Newsletter #349: The Control Catastrophe and our Food

Food shortages and sky-rocketing inflation are coming. There are many ramifications. And reasons much larger than a shortage. We are heading towards a catastrophe of overall control by a few. Agriculture just happens to be their biggest target. A deep dive.

Last updated on Jul 24, 2022

Posted on Jul 24, 2022

Pexels/Jayant Kulkarni
“Truth is found neither in the thesis nor the antithesis, but in an emergent synthesis which reconciles the two.” ― Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Either we all can be knowledgeable about the shifting geopolitical and global economic dynamics.  And in doing so empower ourselves to thwart the rise of an unmistakably devastating future of control and hunger coming our way.  Or we consciously recruit our kids to a future of unbridled slavery.

There are no other options.

The games are big.  Players crafty. And resources at their disposal constantly rising!

When one strand of the larger catastrophe manifests as a crisis, it is important to look at it holistically and draw our attention to the underlying disturbances.  Disturbances that showcase much worse situations.

If we keep our focus on a smaller silo, we are really facilitating our own enslavement.

Time for some empowerment.


The food catastrophe?

In May 2022, Economist ran an alarming piece titled "The coming food catastrophe,"

By invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin will destroy the lives of people far from the battlefield—and on a scale even he may regret. The war is battering a global food system weakened by covid-19, climate change, and an energy shock. Ukraine’s exports of grain and oilseeds have mostly stopped and Russia’s are threatened. Together, the two countries supply 12% of traded calories. Wheat prices, up 53% since the start of the year, jumped a further 6% on May 16th, after India said it would suspend exports because of an alarming heatwave.  The widely accepted idea of a cost-of-living crisis does not begin to capture the gravity of what may lie ahead. António Guterres, the un secretary general, warned on May 18th that the coming months threaten “the spectre of a global food shortage” that could last for years. The high cost of staple foods has already raised the number of people who cannot be sure of getting enough to eat by 440m, to 1.6bn. Nearly 250m are on the brink of famine. If, as is likely, the war drags on and supplies from Russia and Ukraine are limited, hundreds of millions more people could fall into poverty. Political unrest will spread, children will be stunted and people will starve. (Source: The Economist)

Keeping aside the old art of demonizing your ideological enemy while transposing yourself as God's own as you keep mum about your own crimes in the situation, the Economist had an alarming, though maybe a partial picture painted of the crisis at hand.

The World Bank's July 15th update had this to share.

Source: World Bank

What they are attributing to the war in Ukraine is actually a deeper and more fundamental issue.  The war in Ukraine is caused by those very insecurities and urges for control that the coming catastrophe manifests.  Something that most Western journalists love to paper over.

Here is a CNBC news item sharing the details of the food shortages spreading across the world.

We will go into the details of the food crisis in a bit.  First, let us dig deeper into another set of dynamics that has been underway around the world in a very surreptitious manner and hardly anyone was discussing that.  It does, however, have a significant role in the food crisis dynamics.

To understand it, let us start with a test case.  

Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's Water Problem

Saudi Arabia has a water problem.  Its drinking water comes from the water desalination plants along the coast.

Saudi Arabia water
Saudi Arabia's water desalination plants

The aquifers under the desert have fallen considerably and have a fluoride contamination problem.  The recommended level for fluoride is 0.7 to 1.2 mg/l.  But in Mecca for example, in 1990, the levels were around  2.5 mg/l (source).

So what does Saudi Arabia do?  

The coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp relief economic vulnerabilities, system inefficiencies and sectorial risks in countries and regions around the world. In the Gulf, in addition to economic pressure, the outbreak is a stress test for food and water security.  Measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 have led to a full or partial halt of economic activities and shipments, causing supply-chain disruptions of consumer products, including food, and leading governments to reconsider their food strategies and security. The situation calls to mind the 2007-08 crises, which saw a 40% hike in food prices globally and triggered the “Riyadh Declaration to Enhance Arab Cooperation to Face World Food Crises.” Gulf food security strategies revolve around five major objectives: 1) investing in agricultural land in foreign countries 2) diversifying sources of supply 3) investing in local agricultural production 4) enhancing storage capacity domestically and 5) decreasing food waste. Some measures have enhanced the accessibility and availability of food, but investing abroad has been subject to political risk, including conflicts with the local community over resource availability, as many of the foreign countries are also in water-stressed areas in Africa. (Source)

It uses a combination of three things to really handle its water and food needs:

  1. Desalination
  2. Waste water recycling and reuse
  3. Virtual Water Trade

Desalination: Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer of desalinated water.  By 2011, the country’s 27 desalination plants at 17 different locations were supplying 3.3 million m3/day (1.2 billion m3/year) of water (Source: Businesswire). 6 of these plants are located on the East coast and 21 are on the Red Sea coast.  While this is very useful, desalination has a tremendously negative side effect - Brine Pollution.  The side product from desalination is a brine with heavy salt concentration - which is fed back into the sea.  That increases the salt content and reduces the oxygen levels (Source: Wired).

Waste Water Recycling: Saudi Arabia is a pioneer in wastewater recycling. The reuse percentage rose from 66 percent in 2011 to 77 percent in 2014 and the figure is expected to reach 80 percent by 2019.  It is expected to go over 90% by 2040. (Source: Wateronline)

Pioneering work that every country should learn from.

While the first two are fairly standard, what does the last one stand for?

Virtual Water geopolitics and hegemony

Virtual Water Trade refers to the volumes of water that are embedded (or used) in the flow of exports and imports of products to and from a country or region.  For example, 1 kg of wheat requires 1350 liters of water.  That is the Water footprint of wheat.  The Water footprint of different food commodities underlies the virtual water trade that is going on when those food products are imported or exported.

"Virtual water" is embedded in agricultural, forestry, industrial, and mining products.

So when a country imports 1000 kg of wheat, it is also importing 1,350,000 liters of water.  Here is an informative video on the whole concept.

John Anthony Allan, a professor at King's College, London had come up with the concept of Virtual Water in a conference paper in 1993.

How then is it possible to argue that there are substitutes for water? The answer is partly that they have already been found … [Many countries] either have sufficient water or they do not need it since they can substitute oil revenues to purchase food which cannot be produced at home because of water shortages. (Source)

Producing food also means water is being used out of the existing watershed in that country.

In the United States, for instance, irrigation accounted for 42 percent of the nation’s freshwater withdrawals in 2015 and the majority went to agriculture. In addition, agriculture in the US accounts for approximately 80 to 90 percent of the nation’s consumptive water use. (Source)

Now all countries which import water-intensive products - agricultural or meat - are not always water-deficient countries like Saudi Arabia.  The richest ones - that do not want to use their own water resources for feeding their masses - are also in it in a big way.  The biggest net importers are - North Africa and the Middle East, Mexico, Europe, Japan, and South Korea.

Global map showing countries with net virtual water import related to import of agricultural and industrial products from Latin American countries (green) and countries with net virtual water export due to agricultural and industrial exports to Latin American countries (red) over the period 1996-2005. Only the biggest gross virtual water flows (over 10 billion cubic meters per year) are shown. Source: Mekonnen, M.M., Pahlow, M., Aldaya, M.M., Zarate, E. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2015) Sustainability, efficiency and equitability of water consumption and pollution in Latin America and the Caribbean, Sustainability, 7(2): 2086-2112.

Water globalization may impress the globalists who look at the overall picture for better productivity at the world level, but it robs many societies – most of which are poor with scarce resources – of their most important resource for life – water.

This will lead to what is being called “Virtual water hegemony”.  When virtual water dominance by a few rich societies is combined with large agribusinesses with a monopoly on seeds and agricultural patents, we may be looking at a scenario of an invisible but real colonial infrastructure being developed.

"Virtual Water Hegemony: The Role of Agribusiness in Global Water Governance" by Sojamo, Suvi; Keulertz, Martin; Warner, Jeroen; Allan, John Anthony (Source)

In a study along the Belt & Road (B&R) route, an interesting insight was that GDP and exchange rate were positively correlated with virtual water inflow.  Meaning - the higher the GDP in a country, the higher will be the virtual water inflows in that country.  Even when a country does not have a water shortage, the inflows in that country increase due to its ability to control and buy via its strong economic position.

Water resources are distributed in the form of virtual water through international trade, which influences the water supply and consumption of each country. Therefore, it is of significance to study the driving factors of grain virtual water trade to alleviate water stress and guarantee food security. In this paper, the virtual water volume of grain crops traded between China and countries along the Belt and Road (B&R) from 2000 to 2019 was calculated, and a gravity model using panel data was applied to explore the effect of natural and socioeconomic factors on virtual water trade. The virtual water export from B&R countries to China obviously increased in the twenty years and the contributions of various crops to virtual water were more balanced. The regression results indicate that GDP and exchange rate were positively correlated with virtual water inflow, while per capital water resources, arable land, geographic distance, and population were negative factors that hindered virtual water import. The most powerful driving force for grain virtual water trade is water endowment. GDP is an important driver on importing virtual water for countries without water shortage, and a large number of local water resources will not obviously inhibit the driving force of economic strength. By comparing the contribution of factors to virtual water in the past ten years, it can be found that the contribution rate of distance decreased due to the development of transportation industry which reduced the transportation cost of exporting products. The contribution rate of GDP and exchange rate increased, because economic globalization has promoted the effect of economic factors on grain trade. Therefore, the trade structure of agricultural products should be modified based on the characteristics of virtual water flow. For countries without high economic level but water shortage, export crops with high water consumption be reasonably controlled. (Source: ScienceDirect)

As the water scarcity becomes more acute, and food difficult to grow, the gap between the GDPs will start widening as well.

(Source: World Bank)

As the agriculture trade flows follow the virtual water trade, they are being affected due to pandemics and wars.  It is also important to understand the biggest risk to these flows that can disrupt the net imports into a country in a big way.

The maritime choke points.

International Maritime Choke Points: Food Security and Geopolitics imperatives

As much as it impacts the water scarcity and aquifer levels in different countries, the virtual water trade also raises questions about food security.  

Over the years, few sea routes have become the “choke points” for food.  Food is being sent via ships across the world.

If the ways and routes are clogged or closed off, then countries that have completely outsourced their food supplies to other countries, like say Saudi Arabia, could go hungry.

Source: IOPScience

Countries are creating geostrategic alliances, groups, and frameworks to circumvent the choke points problem.  

QUAD, Free and Open Indo-Pacific, and Belt and Road initiatives are a few of those.  

These groups all have their basis in the insecurities and opportunities that the countries are facing with respect to water and food security.

With so many choke points that need defending, a new frontier for maritime trade is opening up - the Arctic Circle.

Arctic Circle - the next battlefield

It is the latest area of diplomatic tensions.  First, let us understand what it is.

Arctic Circle is the region near the North Pole.  

The Arctic Circle is an imaginary line of latitude that circles Earth's northernmost end. Not to be confused with it's colder, Southern Hemisphere counterpart known as the Antarctic Circle, the Arctic Circle is located approximately 66.5 degrees north of the equator (the exact coordinates vary slightly depending on Earth's axial tilt), and marks the southern border of the Arctic. Because of this, the Arctic Circle is often used as a reference point to express proximity to the Arctic region.  The Arctic Circle covers an area about 5.5 million square miles (14.5 million square kilometers), according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. That's slightly less than 3% of Earth's surface area. At the Arctic's center lies the North Pole, which is surrounded by the waters of the Arctic Ocean; the ocean itself is surrounded by land from eight countries: Canada, the United States, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Greenland. Alaska is the only U.S. state with access to the Arctic Circle, and Fairbanks, Alaska, is the closest major city (it's about 198 miles (158 km) away). (Source: Live Science)

This map shows it clearly with the countries that have territorial claims over it.

(Source: The Economist)

It is difficult to miss the fact that Russia has the largest share of Arctic territory.

While Alaska is a remote exclave for the USA, Siberia and the Russian Arctic are an integral, geostrategically and economically significant part of the Russian Fed­eration, whose key importance is sometimes inflated into myth. The Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation (AZRF) covers around 5 million square kilometres and stretches along the coastal areas of the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, and Chukchi Sea all the way to the Bering Strait. The coastline is around 24,140 km long – over half of the Arctic’s total coastline and two-thirds of Russia’s total coast of 37,653 km.1 (Source: German Institute for International and Security Affairs)

So what?

Because, last year - February 2021 - for the first time a commercial vessel sailed across the Northern Sea Route.  The vessel - Christophe de Margerie - went from Jiangsu in China to the remote Arctic terminal of Sabetta during the Arctic winter through the thick ocean ice.  That is the port in Sabetta on the gas-rich Yamal Peninsula.

That was not enough.

As previously reported by the Barents Observer, the 299 meter long LNG carrier operated by Sovcomflot on the 27th January set out from the Chinese port and few days later sailed through the Bering Strait where it soon team up with nuclear icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy. The two ships subsequently sailed together across the vast Arctic route to the Yamal Peninsula. On the 19th February, the powerful LNG carrier entered the port of Sabetta. That is two days after the original schedule. According to shipping company Sovcomflot, the voyage shows that navigation across the eastern sector of the Russian Arctic can be significantly extended. (Source: The Barents Observer)

Here is the video of the voyage of these ships that has recently been released.

The navigation window on the eastern side of the Russian Arctic across the entire length of the Northern Sea Route has now been confirmed to be 'year round'!  

And, in 2018, Russia built a massive gas plant on the Yamal peninsula.

Late last year, the Russian energy giant Novatek finished building the northernmost industrial facility on the globe: Yamal LNG, a $27-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant sitting at 71.2 degrees north at Sabetta, on the bank of the Ob River. The facility and its new port cling to the eastern shore of the gas-rich Yamal Peninsula, which sticks up like a frostbitten thumb into the Kara Sea—that is, in the middle of frozen nowhere. The plant was finished a year ahead of schedule, in no small part because the Russian government helped build a massive port for LNG tankers, an airport, and a powerplant, not to mention using its fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers to keep the channel clear for ships coming in with construction material. (Source: National Geographic)

The Western countries - specifically Europe and US - are worried.  If Russia - along with China (as it seems right now) - owns that northern frontier, the chances are that Europe and US will be left with almost nothing in the future world order.  

And, Russia is very sensitive to any such threat.

Russia’s senior diplomat at the Arctic Council intergovernmental forum, Nikolai Korchunov, spoke out on April 17 about NATO’s increased presence in the Arctic since the war in Ukraine began. He said long-planned military drills between NATO, Finland and Sweden in the region in March were “a cause for concern” for Russia.  “The Alliance recently held another large-scale military exercise in northern Norway. In our view, this does not contribute to the security of the region," he said. If the Western military alliance continues its Arctic activities, "unintended incidents" might occur, he said, without specifying what these might be. (Source: France24)

The critical importance of the Arctic Circle to maritime navigation aside, it has a HUGE reserve of Oil, Gas, and minerals.

The Arctic’s strategic importance owes in large part to its profound mineral wealth. Courtesy of climate change, rising temperatures are rapidly thawing barriers to the region’s bountiful natural resources. According to the Stimson Center, the region may contain up to 90 billion barrels of oil and 47 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, while the Wall Street Journal estimates the Arctic may contain some $1 trillion worth of rare-earth metals—a set of 17 precious metallic elements with critical importance for national defense equipment and consumer electronics. Other sources of mineral wealth in the region include large stores of gold, platinum, tin, diamonds, and zircon-titanium, as explored in a recent study published in Ore Geology Reviews. (Source: Foreign Policy)

As NATO poked Russia with its expansionist ways, Putin retaliated as only he knows how to.  By attacking Ukraine.  So using that as the pretext, the Europeans, Canadians, and Americans are trying to isolate Russia within the grouping of Arctic nations known as the Arctic Circle.

On March 3rd, just a week after war broke out, seven of the eight permanent members of the Arctic Council, the region’s main intergovernmental organisation—all bar Russia, the current chair—said they would boycott future meetings in light of the war. The council had long sought to portray the region as peaceful and co-operative: its founding document, the Ottawa Declaration of 1996, states that it should not deal with “military security”. But the war has pitted Western signatories (America, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) against Russia in the far north. How will the fallout affect the Arctic? (Source: The Economist)

It is pretty obvious that the Ukraine war has more to do with Arctic Circle and dominance over it, as opposed to Putin being the devil that he is presented to be.  Ukraine war and the belligerence over Putin is primarily to take "control over Russia" to minimize its ownership over the Arctic Circle.

So, ironically, the navigation option that will decide the next set of superpowers and the resultant battle over it - the Ukraine war - is responsible for the precipitation of food crisis for everyone right now.

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Let's talk about Inputs to Agriculture

The world of food and agriculture is predicated on the inputs it gets.  Fertilizers, Pesticides, Seeds, etc.  

Let us discuss fertilizers for a bit to understand the dynamics at play in the global agriculture markets.

Bread out of the air and the Holocaust

Chemical fertilizer has its origin in the mind of a man who had a dubious record.

Fritz Haber.

He was the one who discovered the way to create ammonia by combining atmospheric nitrogen with hydrogen.  

By the beginning of World War 1, BASF was producing a large amount of ammonia.  That set a huge agricultural revolution in motion.

Brot aus luft (Bread out of the air) was the slogan.

Suddenly, humanity had a solution to world hunger.  

He became the director of the Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry at the new Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft in Berlin to promote original research.  During the first World War, he worked on creating the new chemical weapon - Poison gas.  The first version of it was Chlorine gas or phosgene.  This was used on the battlefield in April 1915 by the Germans at Ypres.

“The chlorine seared their eyes and burned the lining of their bronchial tubes, causing blindness, coughing, violent nausea, splitting headache, and a stabbing pain in the chest,” writes historian Jonathan Tucker. “Hundreds of soldiers collapsed in agony, their silver badges and buckles instantly tarnished greenish black by the corrosive gas.” (Source: Timeline)

That started a new chapter in the story of war - Chemist's war.

A few days after the phosgene/Chlorine gas attack at Ypres, Fritz's wife Clara Immerwahr, a brilliant chemist in her own right, took out his service revolver, went outside, and shot herself through her heart after a heated argument over his support for such chemical warfare.  The cold man that Haber was, he left the next morning for the battlefield to release the poison gas on the Russians.  (Source: Timeline).

Haber also created Zyklon A as a pesticide.  The method used to create that pesticide was used to create Zyklon B.  This was used by the Nazis in the "extermination camps", specifically at Auschwitz Birkenau.

Years later, Haber continued involved in the creation of chemical arms, together with Ferdinand Fury. They created Zyklon A, a pesticide that releases hydrogen cyanide, which, with a method of absorption, turned into Zyklon B, the gas that was used to kill millions of people during the Nazi Holocaust. Despite Haber’s strong patriotism, the rise of nationalism and socialism in 1933 made his Jewish roots to leave the country: first, he went to the University of Cambridge for two months, and then Switzerland, which became his adoption country where he would then die in 1934 due heart attack. Years later, in 1942, the Reich adopted the “final solution” for the Untermenschen (the Jews, gipsies, homosexuals, people with Down’s Syndrome, etc.), which meant using Zyklon B in gas chambers. Between 1942 and 1943, nineteen tons of these materials were sent to Auschwitz Birkenau, where the Jewish family of Fritz Haber would die. The Nuremberg trials and the public use of Zyklon B in gas chambers affected Haber’s three children, one from his marriage to Clara Immerwarh, and two from his marriage to Charlotte Nathan. The two eldest sons committed suicide in late 1946. The exhibition in CRAI shows a book written by one of Haber’s sons, on the figure of his father. (Source: University of Barcelona)

That is the legacy of chemical fertilizers.  There is a thin line between life and death, between food and weaponry when it comes to the chemical realm.

Closer home, in the 1984 Sikh massacres, White Phosphorus - an ingredient in fertilizer plants - was used to burn the Sikhs alive by the Congress supporters.  Read about that in the link below.

Drishtikone Newsletter #334: The 1984 Sikh Massacres
By the afternoon of October 31st, 1984, Congress had unleashed deadly violence against Sikhs after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. An in-depth analysis

The Fertilizer Shortage and Crisis

Bloomberg ran this dire warning in the aftermath of the Ukraine war.  The world is not just facing a food shortage, but more importantly, it is facing a severe fertilizer shortage as well! (Can the World Feed Itself? Historic Fertilizer Crunch Threatens Food Security)

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.  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. (Source: Yahoo Finance/Bloomberg)

National Geographic put that picture in perspective.  How historic this situation is.

In fact, according to noted Canadian energy researcher Vaclav Smil, two-fifths of humanity—more than three billion people—are alive because of nitrogen fertilizer, the main ingredient in the Green Revolution that supercharged the agricultural sector in the 1960s. The chemical fertilizer trifecta that tripled global grain production—nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K)—enabled the greatest human population growth the planet has ever seen. Now, it is in short supply, and farmers, fertilizer companies, and governments around the globe are scrambling to avert a seemingly inevitable tumble in crop yields.  “I’m not sure it’s possible any more to avoid a food crisis,” says World Farmers’ Organization President Theo de Jager. “The question is how wide and deep it will be. Most importantly, farmers need peace. And peace needs farmers.” (Source: "Global food crisis looms as fertilizer supplies dwindle" - National Geographic)

A World Bank blog post in May 2022 shared the impact on Fertilizer prices.

Source: "Fertilizer prices expected to remain higher for longer" World Bank

The reasons for the increase in prices include - Rising natural gas prices (specifically in Europe), soaring coal prices in China, and higher prices of ammonia and sulfur.

Source: "Fertilizer prices expected to remain higher for longer" World Bank

There is frustration all over.  And in such a crisis, the farmers are going to the basics and have started using manure.  They are even using Human Waste!

“The arable area still requires significant tonnage of synthetic fertilizer, but this is reduced by the use of manures,” Butler said. Since the animal waste from his farm is not enough, he has been buying biosolids from utility Thames Water, which produces over 750,000 meters squared of sludge each year for farmers across Britain’s southeast. However, Butler said that it’s increasingly difficult to source human excrement as “there is more demand than supply for biosolid materials.” In the U.S., biosolids are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, and in Europe, biosolids have been in use since 1986 when it received regulatory approval from the European Union. (Source: "The World Is So Desperate for Manure Even Human Waste Is a Hot Commodity" Bloomberg)

But the brouhaha over the shortage of chemical fertilizers also comes in the wake of strong farmers' protests in Holland which were precipitated by the clamp down on nitrogen emissions.

Farms without Farmers and Food Control

The farmers' protests started when the Dutch minister laid out the plan for changing agriculture due to Greenhouse Gas emission reductions.

Source: Global Agricultural Information Network 

Interesting!

“there is not a future for all {Dutch} farmers within [this] approach.”

Agriculture cannot have a place for farmers going forward.  The Dutch government is not providing a way out or even facilitating the change to more ecological farming technology.  They are planning to throw out the farmers under the bus.

Why?  Whose bus?

We are looking at a world where Bill Gates is talking about marrying digital technology with agriculture.  Specifically in Africa.

When information can flow easily, when data is democratized, the cost of doing business in agriculture goes way down, just as transaction costs go way down when financial transactions are digital. The excessive time and money farmers, agribusinesses, and cooperatives spend managing the risk of doing business with unknown partners is a drag on efficiency. When these partners can know each other easily—can function as nodes in a single marketplace—agriculture will thrive.  It’s not as easy as the above paragraphs may make it seem. Building a digital agriculture system that actually accomplishes these goals will take innovation and investment. But the point is that before it wasn’t possible, and now it is. The added variable of digital technology has changed the agricultural development equation. (Source: Future Farms without Farmers)

Under the guise of altruism, Bill Gates is instead destroying the agriculture within Africa in a big way.

The Foundation provides zero funding to support farmer seed systems, which supply 80 to 90% of all the seeds used in Africa. Instead, it provides a lot of funds to initiatives that destroy them. Furthermore, the Gates Foundation props up biofortification as a solution to malnutrition, taking funds and attention away from much more practical and culturally appropriate efforts to improve nutrition by enhancing on-farm biodiversity and people’s access to it. Over the last decade or so, the Gates Foundation has given US$73 million to biofortification initiatives that essentially seek to artificially pack nutrients into single crop commodities. (Source: "Bill Gates Is Consolidating Control over Our Food System" Eco-nnect)

Do you see how natural ways are being replaced by curated methods of synthetic food?

Corporatization of agriculture furthers the pushing of the farmers out of their own lands, as the wealthy billionaires own more and more agricultural land to take the future of food into their control.

Bill Gates, for example, is the largest private owner of farmland in the United States.

Source: The Guardian

Currently, in the US over 40% of farmland (80% in some counties) is owned by non-farmers. (Source: American Farmland Trust)

That is why people are asking questions.  Are billionaires like Bill Gates working to improve agriculture or executing a plan to exercise monopolistic control?

“As the former CEO and largest shareholder of Microsoft, you might think that Bill Gates is a capitalist, but that’s not exactly the case,” Megan Tompkins-Stange, a scholar of philanthropy at University of Michigan, told The Ink. “Gates’ version of capitalism would better be called monopolistic. He has consistently sought to distort free markets in order to advance his own corporation’s accumulation of wealth, power, and preeminence.  These ideologies led to the recent controversy over Covid-19 vaccines, in which Gates’ insistence on patents may have impeded vaccine access for the world’s poor. The incident raised concerns about the powerful influence Gates wields over vital issues involving public health. As Timothy Schwab wrote in The Nation,“It is increasingly urgent to ask if Gates’s multiple roles in the pandemic – as a charity, a business, an investor, and a lobbyist – are about philanthropy and giving away money, or about taking control and exercising power – monopoly power.” (Source: Local Futures)

To understand the larger dynamics at play within the agricultural world, where a few wealthy individuals are working overtime, using charity as a guise, to control the world - please check this discussion out.

Vandana's discussion is very insightful, powerful, and deep.  If you read nothing in this newsletter, that is ok.  But please listen to her in this one video!

In such a scenario, the self-reliance of countries with their indigenous technologies and methods becomes extremely critical.

Let us check out one such case study.  The Nano Urea.

Nano Urea - a revolutionary technology from India

In June this year, India's Indian Farmer's Fertilizer Cooperative Ltd (IFFCO) started producing nano urea in Kalol, Gandhinagar district of Gujarat.  It is the world's first nano urea liquid plant.

Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) has launched a new nano urea (liquid) fertilizer, developed using nanotechnology, the company said. A 500 millilitre (ML) bottle of the product would be able to replace at least one 45KG bag of conventional urea, and reduce urea requirements by 50%, said IFFCO. Mass production at the company’s Kalol plant in Ahmedabad will start this month, although the volume being manufactured was not disclosed. The commercial roll-out is to begin soon after, the company said. In phase 2, IFFCO will set up two more units at Aonla and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh with a total production capacity of 180m bottles/year. Each bottle is 500ML. IFFCO aims to reach production capacity of 320m bottles/year in the third phase of the project, which will replace 13.7m tonnes/year of subsidised urea. This would reduce the government’s subsidy burden. (Source: Independent Commodity Intelligence Services)

IFFCO received the patent for not just nano urea but also nano DAP from the Patent Office of the Government of India.

Fertiliser cooperative major IFFCO Ltd. said it has received the patent on its revolutionary Nanotechnology-based fertilisers nano urea, and nano DAP for 20 years from the Patent Office of the Government of India. (Source: Live Mint)

It is an ingenious way of working on plants via nanoparticles.  See how it can impact the crops.

Source: Deccan Herald

Most importantly, India is the second largest consumer of urea in the world.  The annual consumption is around 33 million tonnes of urea.  Of this, around 70% is produced in India while 30% is imported.

In a time of global fertilizer crisis, the nano urea and DAP move can literally rescue Indian agriculture in the face of a global food and fertilizer shortage.  When India could have faced a massive drought, it will be able to save itself from it.

So, what is the  Real Food Catastrophe

The Ukraine war, the COVID-19 impact, the fertilizer food shortage, and the coming drought are not the real deal.

They are just events that will bring something else to the fore while also providing the vultures with opportunities to take further control of the world.

And that will create a world where the wealthy few in the world will drive and control our food, our air, our water, and our lives like never before.

To obfuscate the real nature of their control, the wealthy few create a network of nodes and ownership threads.  

Catastrophe is not just focused on agriculture.  Agriculture is just one indicator and area of how the overall world order is changing under our very noses!

When the Indian PM talks of "Atmanirbhar Bharat", we have no idea how immensely detrimental that is to this whole industry of control by a few billionaires.  Self-sufficiency is the death knell for the global imperialists.

Because for complete "equality" and control, the systems, the ways, and processes need to be "standardized".  Walmartization of it all, if you will.

That - the control of the world by few -  friends, is the REAL catastrophe!  That is where the "Hunger Games" really start.

Video corner: Shortugai, the Indus Valley Outpost in Central Asia

This is a video on how the Indus Valley civilization inhabitants had moved to Central Asia and created a city of their own there as well.  The city architecture was built to the same exacting norms as was done in the Harappan sites and other cities in the Indian region.

Harappan settlement of Shortugai, established around 2500-2400 BC in the Oxus basin, examined the links between the greater Indus Valley Civilization and the Oxus-Jaxartes Civilization, which evolved into the Bactria Margiana Archaeological Complex.

The whole Indus Valley society was indeed fascinating.

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