Gold Telegraph: Global Food Supply Chains Beginning to Erode, Crisis Looms?

From The Gold Telegraph – Global Food Supply Chains Beginning to Erode, Crisis Looms?

…One would begin to believe history might not be repeating itself, but it is undoubtedly starting to rhyme. During the great depression of the 1930s, the hardest-hit industry was farming. Farm incomes dropped by nearly two-thirds at the beginning of the 1930s. Dairy farmers dumped countless gallons of milk into the street instead of accepting a penny a quart.

During World War 1, farmers had produced record crops and livestock to keep everyone fed. However, when prices started to fell, they tried to harvest even more to pay their debts and living expenses. In the early 30s, prices dropped so low that many farmers went bankrupt and lost their farms. In some cases, the price of a bushel of corn fell to just eight to ten cents. Some farmers even began burning corn rather than coal in their stoves because corn was cheaper.

However, there is a dramatic difference today. Prices are not dropping; in fact, grocery bills are getting more expensive by the day. Supply chains are being disrupted due to the transportation and of course processing of a vast selection of foods.

As we are beginning to learn, the country where the coronavirus started, China, may now be facing a food crisis. The country has just reopened its economy as the communist regime has even claimed a coronavirus victory.

However, there was a leaked government document made public last Thursday that shows that government officials have been planning for a shortfall in food supplies.

The document, dated March 28, was drafted following a meeting which was called to make special arrangements for food security.

“The State Party Committee and the state governments and counties and cities must do everything possible to transfer and store all kinds of living materials such as grain, beef, mutton, oil and salt through various channels,” the document said, according to a report from Radio Free Asia

The document also calls for the “mobilization of the masses to consciously store grain and ensure that each household reserves between 3 and 6 months of grain for emergencies…”

Click here to read the entire article at The Gold Telegraph.

Medium: What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage

Will Oremus has written an article at Medium.com on What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage, pointing out that it has little to do with so-called hoarding. The fact is that people actually are using more toilet paper at home. There are similar problems with dairy products. With everyone staying at home and mostly eating at home, consumption of milk, butter, eggs, etc. is higher at home, now.

round the world, in countries afflicted with the coronavirus, stores are sold out of toilet paper. There have been shortages in Hong Kong, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And we all know who to blame: hoarders and panic-buyers.

Well, not so fast.

Story after story explains the toilet paper outages as a sort of fluke of consumer irrationality. Unlike hand sanitizer, N95 masks, or hospital ventilators, they note, toilet paper serves no special function in a pandemic. Toilet paper manufacturers are cranking out the same supply as always. And it’s not like people are using the bathroom more often, right?

U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar summed up the paradox in a March 13 New York Times story: “Toilet paper is not an effective way to prevent getting the coronavirus, but they’re selling out.” The president of a paper manufacturer offered the consensus explanation: “You are not using more of it. You are just filling up your closet with it.”

Faced with this mystifying phenomenon, media outlets have turned to psychologists to explain why people are cramming their shelves with a household good that has nothing to do with the pandemic. Read the coverage and you’ll encounter all sorts of fascinating concepts, from “zero risk bias” to “anticipatory anxiety.” It’s “driven by fear” and a “herd mentality,” the BBC scolded. The libertarian Mises Institute took the opportunity to blame anti-gouging laws. The Atlantic published a short documentary harking back to the great toilet paper scare of 1973, which was driven by misinformation.

Most outlets agreed that the spike in demand would be short-lived, subsiding as soon as the hoarders were satiated.

No doubt there’s been some panic-buying, particularly once photos of empty store shelves began circulating on social media. There have also been a handful of documented cases of true hoarding. But you don’t need to assume that most consumers are greedy or irrational to understand how coronavirus would spur a surge in demand. And you can stop wondering where in the world people are storing all that Quilted Northern.

There’s another, entirely logical explanation for why stores have run out of toilet paper — one that has gone oddly overlooked in the vast majority of media coverage. It has nothing to do with psychology and everything to do with supply chains. It helps to explain why stores are still having trouble keeping it in stock, weeks after they started limiting how many a customer could purchase.

In short, the toilet paper industry is split into two, largely separate markets: commercial and consumer. The pandemic has shifted the lion’s share of demand to the latter. People actually do need to buy significantly more toilet paper during the pandemic — not because they’re making more trips to the bathroom, but because they’re making more of them at home. With some 75% of the U.S. population under stay-at-home orders, Americans are no longer using the restrooms at their workplace, in schools, at restaurants, at hotels, or in airports.

Georgia-Pacific, a leading toilet paper manufacturer based in Atlanta, estimates that the average household will use 40% more toilet paper than usual if all of its members are staying home around the clock…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Medium.com

Here is a video of a dairy farmer of Wagner Farms, talking about dairy item shortages and supply chains.

KIMA News: Donations of Respirator Masks and Other Medical Supplies Needed

From KIMA news, Donations of respirator masks and other medical supplies needed

Health care providers are in critical need of supplies as COVID-19 continues to hit Washington. Critical health supplies are in demand for Trios, Lourdes, Kadlec and Prosser Memorial. The Tri-Cities Business and Visitor Center is volunteering to be a central donation point to drop off supplies. Jim Hall, a representative of area health organizations, explains what type of items are needed.

“Hand sanitizer, wipes, PPE equipment, gowns and more, the more we can accumulate the better position we are going to be,” explained Hall. According to Hall, the Tri-Cities community is stepping up.

“Thank you to the community and thank you to the Business and Visitor Center for putting this collective effort together,” said Hall. You can drop off supplies Monday through Wednesday from 11 am to 7 pm at the Tri-Cities Business and Visitor Center.

“I know all of the medical providers in the area have really been swamped with inquiries from the public on how they can help,” said Hall. You can help by donating or help by practicing good hand washing and social distancing.

Health officials say we will get through this together. “I know nurses and doctors and health care providers are working around the clock to take care of our entire community,” said Hall.

Here is a list of supplies in critical shortage:

  • Masks- Surgical Masks, N95 Masks, or Handmade
  • Face Shields / Goggles
  • Finger Oximeter
  • Gloves (Non-Latex preferred)
  • Disinfecting Wipes
  • Thermometers
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Isolation Gowns

According to the Washington State Department of Health, many items were delivered to Washington State given from the Federal Strategic National Stockpile.

Here are the numbers of supplies given:

  • Gowns: 26,459
  • Gloves: 104,250
  • Masks: 133,760
  • Suits: 13

Here are the numbers of supplies given directly to the state:

  • 1.6 Million N95 Respirators
  • 560,000 Masks
  • 12 Million Disposable Gloves
  • 600,000 Masks
  • 74,000 Disinfectant Wipes

Prepping for Brexit

Will Brexit (the British exit from the European Union) prove to be a learning event for preppers? Only time will tell if those stocking up for shortages post-Brexit will appear foolish when nothing happens, or if they will be sitting pretty while those around them scramble for the last can of sardines in the grocery. British food author Jack Monroe has written a piece on her blog about how she is preparing for Brexit by stockpiling food, and what and why she is storing. Here’s an excerpt from What (And Why) I’m Stockpiling For Brexit. She helpfully includes a limited amount of nutritional information for many of the items, though I am not familiar with the “grim” nutrient ascribed to dried cheese.

…I have just finished writing my next cookbook, Tin Can Cook, which I pitched to my publisher as ‘the post-Brexit apocalyptic cookbook’. I wasn’t joking. On news of its announcement a few weeks ago, it went straight into the Top Ten on Amazon. People emailed me asking what they should be stockpiling for Brexit. I filed their emails in a folder and put my head back in the sand.

And then yesterday, I cleared the shelves of my 20 foot outhouse in the garden. Today I went online to my Asda account, and ordered tins of food. Many, many tins of food. Because if you want to stockpile for Brexit, if you share my concerns about potential food shortages, lorries backed up on motorways, hold-ups at the borders, delays, rotting fruit and vegetables, and lesser availability of fresh food, you may have started stockpiling yourself. I have heard from many people who have been putting a tin or two to one side ‘just in case’.

I am writing this not to alarm anyone, and not to cause any kind of food crisis. To address some of the common criticisms of stockpiling; suddenly buying a lot of tinned tomatoes probably won’t make the price go up any more. Supermarkets are ridiculously competitive with one another about the prices on their basic items, and if you aren’t greedy, you should leave enough for everyone else. Supermarket ordering systems are reactive and reflective – I worked in a supermarket many years ago – and the stock adjusts according to buying patterns and popularity. Overstock is stored in a massive warehouse usually the size of the store itself. Stocking up now gives supermarkets time to replenish and recover their stock, so that come March, we won’t all be fighting over the same tin of tomatoes in the aisle. Hopefully.

In the event that all is fine and dandy and we were all just being cautious, well, hoorah for that. I’ll take the punch on the nose from the trolls who will crow that I was a paranoid leftwing remoaner – I’d rather be prepared than starving, after all. And if the stockpile isn’t needed, I’ll donate it to the Trussell Trust, and you can do the same. Or gradually munch your way through it and enjoy not having to spend any money on your food shop for a while! I mean, they’re tins, they’re hardly likely to go off…

Click here to read the entire piece at Cooking on a Bootstrap.