A study commissioned by the European Union finds a growing chance that the EU’s food chain will be disrupted in coming decades by water shortages elsewhere in the world.
Europe’s meat and dairy industries rely on soybeans grown in North and South America because there’s not enough pasture or farmland in Europe to support those industries in their current size. Changing weather patterns in the Americas are likely to reduce crop yields, the study finds, as droughts and flooding become more common.
If these areas are sending less soy to Europe, then EU meats and dairy goods are likely to rise in price. That will reduce consumption and shrink Europe’s agricultural economy.
To counteract the shortage, Europe will be forced to look elsewhere for animal feed or alter current eating patterns.
TRENDPOST: The looming impact on Europe of water shortages elsewhere highlights the global linkages of water and other natural resources. Finding ways to manage and protect water and farmland will be a fertile area for researchers, entrepreneurs and investors in coming decades.