How is it possible that there can be a food shortage while the US continues to send massive amounts of food to China? That is the question many are asking now after a report from Thompson Reuters found that in spite of the food shortage taking place massive amounts of food are being sent to China.
U.S. President Donald Trump ordered meat processing plants to stay open to protect the nation’s food supply even as workers got sick and died. Yet the plants have increasingly been exporting to China while U.S. consumers face shortages, a Reuters analysis of government data showed.
Trump, who is in an acrimonious public dispute with Beijing over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act on April 28 to keep plants open. Now he is facing criticism from some lawmakers, consumers and plant employees for putting workers at risk in part to help ensure China’s meat supply.
Meat buyers in China ramped up imports from around the world as a pig disease decimated its herd, the world’s largest, and pushed Chinese pork prices to record highs. The supply shock drove China to pay more for U.S. meat than other countries, and even U.S. consumers, since late 2019.
“We know that over time exports are critically important. I think we need to focus on meeting domestic demand at this point,” said Mike Naig, the agriculture secretary in the top U.S. pork-producing state of Iowa who supported Trump’s order.
Processors including Smithfield Foods, owned by China’s WH Group Ltd, Brazilian-owned JBS USA and Tyson Foods Inc temporarily closed about 20 U.S. meat plants as the virus infected thousands of employees, prompting meatpackers and grocers to warn of shortages. Some plants have resumed limited operations as workers afraid of getting sick stay home.
The disruptions mean consumers could see 30% less meat in supermarkets by the end of May, at prices 20% higher than last year, according to Will Sawyer, lead economist at agricultural lender CoBank.
While pork supplies tightened as the number of pigs slaughtered each day plunged by about 40% since mid-March, shipments of American pork to China more than quadrupled over the same period, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. (source)
Most “food shortages”, while they really can happen, in modern times are political events.
The US is the world’s largest producer of food. There are no natural “food shortages” here due to farming and supply chain techniques. Even in the case of a real shortage, the government has the tools to get food wherever it needs to go in an instant if she wanted to.
The reality is that the “food shortage” right now is about breaking the US economy, continuing the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown and building anger against China so to support American nationalist policies directed at isolating and economically divesting from China before eventually heading to war with the Asian superower following a long period of enervating her strength and capabilities.
China depends on US pork to survive. Without US pork, she will fall into starvation. The same with US soy supplies, for no matter how much she divests, she relies on the US to feed her people.
The US does not want China to fall yet- the idea here seems to be to weaken her while at the same time building up India, and eventually to put China against India in a war in Asia while supporting Japan in the northeast and eventually going into China, most likely with the British and French. If starvation was allowed to continue, it might easily precipitate a war or revolution, which seems to be the reason for the shipments of food.
What is happening right now is “business as usual”. The Americans are asserting dominance over the Chinese, as well as weakening them, and likely warning them that they could destroy them if they could. Meanwhile, the common man suffers because he is being used as a pawn just as the way that the people in China are.