Today and every day this week we are looking at some aspect of food security and the major shifts that are putting enormous strain on our global food supply. We are already experiencing acute shortages all over the world. If you like Chicken, then don’t try to order it in a restaurant in Singapore. If you like Dijon mustard, don’t try to order it in France.

On Monday’s show we talked about how dietary preferences have increased the demand for grain on a global basis as more and more people shift from plant based diets to consuming more animal protein.

Over the past 30 years, the carbon neutral movement has been pushing the oil industry to an increasing proportion of bio fuels.

Every year, US farmers plant around 140,000 square miles of corn, 30% of which is used to produce ethanol. Between 1978 and 2018, the ethanol industry received a variety of subsidies totaling $86 billion dollars, more than both the solar and wind industry combined. Despite all this government support, ethanol is often a money losing proposition for farmers. It is also one of the least efficient ways to generate energy.

If you covered an acre of land with solar panels instead of growing corn, you would win by a landslide. An acre of Solar panels produce 70 times more energy than an acre of ethanol from corn.

But solar panels don’t need to occupy prime agricultural land. You can put solar panels in the desert where lettuce and tomatoes and wheat doesn’t grow.

Sadly we’ve created a situation where we have taken prime agricultural land and donated it to the oil industry instead of using it to grow food.