FEMA Contractor Predicts ‘Social Unrest’ Caused by 395% Food Price Spikes


Image: Flickr/Alex Morse.


The US national security industry is planning for the impact of an unprecedented global food crisis lasting as long as a decade, according to reports by a government contractor.

The studies published by CNA Corporation in December 2015, unreported until now, describe a detailed simulation of a protracted global food crisis from 2020 to 2030.

The simulation, titled ‘Food Chain Reaction’, was a desktop gaming exercise involving the participation of 65 officials from the US, Europe, Africa, India, Brazil, and key multilateral and intergovernmental institutions.

The scenario for the ‘Food Chain Reaction’ simulation was created by experts brought in from the State Department, the World Bank, and agribusiness giant Cargill, along with independent specialists. CNA Corp’s Institute for Public Research, which ran the simulation, primarily provides scientific research services for the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Held from November 9-10 in 2015, the “game” attempted to simulate a plausible global food crisis triggered by “food price and supply swings amidst burgeoning population growth, rapid urbanization, severe weather events, and social unrest.”

By 2024, the scenario saw global food prices spike by as much as 395 percent due to prolonged crop failures in key food basket regions, driven largely by climate change, oil price spikes, and confused responses from the international community.

“Disruptions affected developed and developing countries alike, creating political and economic instability, and contributing to social unrest in certain areas,” the project’s technical report states.

The report notes that at the end of the simulation, the teams highlighted the important role of “extreme weather events” and “food insecurity” in exacerbating “instances of significant internal and external migration and social unrest.” These, in turn, greatly “contribute to conflict.”

National security

Although the scenario was not produced as a forecast, it was designed to provide a plausible framework to test the resilience of the national security system from the perspective of the US government, private industry, and civil society.

CNA Corporation is a government contractor established in 1942 to provide scientific research for the US Navy and Marine Corps. Its CEO, Dr. Katherine A. W. McGrady, is a scientific analyst to the US military’s Chief of Naval Operations and the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

From crop failure to system failure

The game begins in 2020 with a reasonably healthy global economy and oil prices that have now rebounded to $75 a barrel. Food prices climb steadily due to “weather-related disruptions to agricultural production,” affecting South and Southeast Asia, Australia, and North America. Global crop production falls 1 percent short of expectations leading to decreases in stock and further modest price increases.

Things get really rough after 2023 due to serious droughts and heatwaves in China, India, Russia, and Ukraine, coinciding with oil prices that rapidly increase to above $100 a barrel.

By 2024, heat and drought hit the European Union, Russia, and Ukraine, while subsiding elsewhere, triggering a food price spike “reaching 395 percent of long-term averages,” and a global economic slowdown.

Full article: FEMA Contractor Predicts ‘Social Unrest’ Caused by 395% Food Price Spikes (Motherboard)

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