This is not that odd for this region. The horn of Africa is on the edge of the Sahara Desert, which has been expanding for most of the last decade. But what is worse is that two years of horrific drought conditions have brought about the worst water and crop conditions since the great famine of 1950-51. It is estimated that about 10 million people in this region are experiencing severe food and water shortages. If 2012 turns out to be as bad a year agriculturally as the previous two, we will most likely see a famine and food shortage as great as any we’ve known in modern history.
Let me quote Revelation 6:5-6 at this point of this post. “When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, ‘Come.’ I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.’ This passage relates to us a situation in which a black horse is released with its rider. These two represent a time of severe famine and food shortage. The scales represent the unbelievably high prices for food staples like wheat, barley, oil, and wine. It reminds us that the seven year tribulation period will be marked by famine and food shortage.
It is true that as long as the earth has been under the economic and agricultural conditions of the fall of man, there have been famines. But the one that seems to be looming in our near future is not quite like any we’ve ever known before. Currently, global stockpiles of corn, which is the most-consumed grain, are being forecast to fall to 47 days of use. According to the U.S.D.A there have not been numbers that low since 1974. Some might think that this is not too bad – and would be normal under cycles that exist in the agricultural world. The real problem though is that as these inventories continue to decline, demand continues to rise.
Making matters worse is the problems that are occurring all over the world in regard to food production. This past year we have watched the following problems hit all over the world. In Russia a record setting heat wave severely hurt their grain crop moving the government to put restrictions on exporting wheat to other countries. Other countries like China, Brazil, Australia, and Pakistan have had bad flooding in several key agricultural areas. In the United States we watched the state of Texas fry with drought and heat – while areas of Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois were purposely flooded to avoid unprecedented disaster on the Mississippi River. By the way, those areas were all farm land. Their ability to grow crops in these regions was limited greatly. Worldwide, crop production is either at historic lows – or has been hindered altogether. Even Europe is seeing near record lows in rain, presenting northern Europe with a drought that has dropped forecasts of agricultural production through the floor.
These worldwide events have led to extreme rises in the price of food. The global price of food in general has risen over 35% in the last year. This caps off a recent report by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization that states that the global price of food has risen 240% since 2004. Since over half the population of Africa spends approximately 50% of their annual income on food alone – rising prices like these will quickly outstrip their ability to buy food at all. That is why in Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Uganda, and Egypt there have already been “Food Riots.” These are gatherings of people who are rioting because of severe shortages of food.
The United States ships out massive amounts of food each year to the rest of the world. If there is a financial meltdown in our country, these shipments will be interrupted – if not halted altogether. If we think it is bad now, have the U.S. cut back or stop their supplies of food to the rest of the world. That will result in global food shortages – and possibly worldwide famine. For the first time in modern history, it does not look like the statements made in Revelation 6:5-6 are all that difficult to imagine. Prepare your hearts dear saints of God – rough times are indeed ahead of us – but so is the coming of our Lord!