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Who’s Vying for a Seat at the Dinner Table?

Touch the Soil News #621

While the obvious answer to the question is everyone, the secondary answer is the nation in which you might live. Almost 60 percent of the world’s peoples live in just 10 nations. Can you guess them?

Global food trade is the amount of food that nations with food to sell export to nations that need to import food. In a nutshell, that is almost every nation in the world. Even the USA – considered by many as a powerhouse of agricultural production – imports more than $100 billion a year in food.

Today, when we think of international trade, the hot topic is imported cars to America and tariffs that might protect certain industries. Regardless of trade imbalances, food is the kind of stuff that can destabilize entire nations – and the stakes are high.

Following is an info-graphic of the world’s 10 most populous nations. It is surprising to many that the United States is No. 3. Because the U.S. eats so high on the food chain, its relative consumption of food is much larger in proportion to China and India than the population numbers.

Mexico imports almost as much from the U.S. ($267 billion) as the U.S. imports from Mexico ($295 billion). Threats of tariffs on Mexican imports into the U.S. have recently gotten the attention of Brazil. Brazil is considering the opportunities of stepping into the trade void that could occur in Mexico, if the U.S. no longer values Mexico trade.

Of consequence is that Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of soybeans and China is the world’s largest importer of soybeans. China is already making billions of dollars of infrastructure improvements in Brazil in exchange for raw products from Brazil. If the trade routes of today are artificially disrupted, the world could see a super power alliance between China, Brazil and Mexico.

The global food trade will have a direct impact on the economics of growing your own food garden. The more Americans have to compete for food with peoples of other nations, the more valuable home lawns, urban vacant lots and gardening soil inputs become.

Following is a short video clip on the growing China/Brazil alliance:

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