David Dzisiak is chief operating officer at Botaneco, a plant-based ingredients manufacturer based in Calgary.
This spring, Canadian farmers will plant the most important crop since the Second World War. The unwarranted Russian invasion of Ukraine, beyond the humanitarian crisis, loss of life and property destruction, will have a profound and dangerous impact on the global food supply, affecting all of us.
As we learned through COVID-19, our supply chains have become global, finely tuned and highly interdependent. Food is no different. This disruption will manifest itself slowly but in plain sight. What we don’t know is the full depth of the disruption or its duration.
In the past 20-plus years, with population growth and rising incomes, wheat consumption has risen by 50 per cent and global trade flows have doubled. The total consumption of grains and rice has increased by about one billion tonnes, according to data from the International Grains Council.
This is everything from bread to pasta, Asian noodles, animal feed and biofuels. Yield has also doubled. Farmers have advanced their management skills and equipment engineering has enabled tremendous advances in productivity. Step change improvements in plant breeding, crop protection and fertility have delivered a sustainable increase in yield.