The Federal Cedar has left Great Yarmouth today bound for southern Spain. Its cargo is barley grown in the UK, to help farmers struggling with the drought conditions that have struck southern Europe.
Obviously it is fantastic that we have been able to grow enough barley in this country to be able to send some abroad but what are the repercussions of this. A one off cargo is neither here nor there but if this becomes a long term occurrence then there will be a knock on effect for us.
Spain and Italy are currently in the midst of a drought that has devastated their cereal crop this year including wheat, maize, barley and rye. The drought, along with the associated water shortage, has also affected greenhouse grown produce.
Spain and Italy are used to hot dry weather. One year of such weather is in the normal course of things but as the world warms these events are becoming more prevalent. Climate models for southern Europe predict that ultimately it will be too hot and dry to sustain any meaningful agriculture.
To survive, the people and livestock of southern Europe have to move to more habitable areas or they have to be helped out by other countries. But as the amount of land that can be cultivated is reduced, the remaining successful crops become more desirable and therefore more expensive (wheat futures have already risen by 6% this year). Everything that needs wheat or barley could become pricier. As a manufacturer who uses either of these products are you going to absorb that price rise or are you able to pass it on to your customers? These are things to be considered if a sector or a business is to retain its resilience, its market and competitiveness. The impact of climate on available resources (both biological and non-biological) is a problem that is not going away and you need to be one step ahead of your competitors. We have recently completed a study for a Government ministry looking at resource availability projections from 2030 – 2050, because strategic decisions now are important for national security, competitiveness and planning as well as commercial resilience.
If you would like help to look at the risk to your supply chain due to climate change or any other factors please feel free to contact us on 01746 552423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.