Recently the effects of unforeseen climatic changes have constantly affected various sectors of the economy globally such as agriculture, tourism, construction industries among other vital sectors of the global economy. Of all these sectors, the most affected one is on agriculture. It is highly evident that agriculture and climate are highly interrelating and both of them highly affect the global economic progress. Despite the technological advancement which has been witnessed in the agricultural sector in the last decade unforeseen climatic changes remains to be the biggest threat to the farmers all across the globe. Some of the recent developments in agriculture include the discovery of genetically modified products, introduction of modern farming machines among others.
It is worth noting that any changes in the agricultural sector brought about by unforeseen changes in climate affects the international trade of agricultural crops in a bigger in magnitude. As it has been witnessed in the last century the average earth’s surface temperature has raised by one degree Celsius contributing heavily to global warming. Global warming leads to unforeseen climatic changes which consequently affects the international markets of agricultural products.
Similarly agriculture ios also affected by any changes in the international trade. As witnessed in 2009 during the global economic crisis most of the agricultural sectors world wide were affected the ban imposed by various governments on exporting food stuffs to other country. This affected farmers in the respective countries as their crops did sell at the expected price in the local markets leading to poor production in the subsequent seasons. The most notable country was Russia and the United States where the ban of exportation of rice and wheat had been placed by the respective governments. The two countries are the major producer of those two agricultural products.
This paper candidly looks at how the unforeseen climatic changes affect the United States agricultural economy and international trade of agricultural crops. Also how the international trade changes affects the United States agricultural economy.
It is evident that changes climate affects the American agriculture. According to Oppenheimer, 2003 United States of America is the world largest producer of grain exports followed by India and china. These grain products include wheat, rice oats and barley. It is worrying to note that the production of grains in USA in the last decade has drastically reduced. By almost 20%.these has been contributed by global warming effects most of which has been brought by the human activities such as emission of carbon emitting substances to the environment, cutting of tress among others. The drastic decrease in the amount of grain products exported by USA to the international markets has had serious consequential effects. Most of the affected countries are those in developing stages such as in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America who depends on importation of grain products to feed their population (Anne, 1992).
As stipulate by Andrew, 2009 the climatic conditions in USA has completely been non linear making it hard to predict changes that may occur in future. These have been brought about by the imperfect ecological, human systems and physical resulting to productions that are outside historical experiences. As witnessed in 2009 when drought affected most of the grain productive regions such as Texas, Mississippi among other areas, the amount of agricultural crops which was exported to the international markets was way below minimum. This resulted to the rise of products related wheat and rice in especially in the Africa and Asian markets making the USA loose more than $1 billion ( Willson, 2003).
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Mustard, 2008 the agricultural sector in USA is faced by various unforeseen climatic changes .in 2008 the central valley of California one of the most agricultural region in the US was affected by unexpected thunderstorms which was brought about by southeasterly winds during late summer. The unexpected heavy winds were then accompanied by heavy rains which damaged the horticultural flowers which were ready for export to Netherlands and other European markets. As a result price of flowers sore up making it to be unaffordable to many customers across Europe.
Besides being threatened by the changes occurring as result of unforeseen climate conditions the US agricultural economy is also affected by the changes in the international trade policies. According to Morgan, 2000 export and trade restrictions are the major problems affecting the agricultural economy. of late the country has ventured into war with various countries such as Iraq, Iran among others. this countries together with their allies in turns have stopped to trade with America despite them being big consumers of products from America previously .consequently demand for American produce has gone down in the international markets have gone down affecting the farmers in areas like Texas, California among other areas. In another hand the international currency trade has also affected the American economy (Jennifer, 1994).
According to Judith, 1993 china remains one of the biggest markets to American agricultural, produce. Recently the Chinese’s governments have been accused of intentionally lowering the value of their currency so to favor imports of goods to the international markets. This has had negative effects on countries exporting goods to the Chinese market. America being a great exporter of agricultural products to the Chinese market has not been left behind. It is estimated that this year alone the American farmers have lost approximately US$ 400 million out of these unfair trading deals in china and other related countries Clem, 1990.
The American agriculture
As stipulated by Peter, 2009 the effect of changes in the international markets and unforeseen climatic changes has a great effect on the American agricultural sector. American farmers must streamline their farming practices in order to match up with the international markets. For example most countries have banned the use of genetically produced food staffs. The genetically modified foods (GMOs) are produced in large quantities in America. Some of these genetic foods include wheat, bananas, rice and other grain foods. As a result the American food stuffs have faced rejection in the international markets such as Sri Lanka and Sweden which has imposed these bans. In order to mitigate problems arising from unforeseen climatic condition such as drought yyyyy recommends farmers to embrace technology in their practices. As witnessed in china, Israel and other Asian countries modern farming methods is of great essence. For example in Israel, which is generally a dry country, farmers rely on water recycling to water maize and wheat plantations (Houghton, 2001). This way the farmers are assured of bumper harvests all around the seasons as water is no longer a problem to them. In 1988 farmers from major agricultural productive areas in America such as Texas suffered a big crop failure which was due to the lack of rains. This made the farmers and the whole of the America agricultural economy suffer as revenue from imports had greatly reduced (Luttrell, 1993).
In order to fully understand the way unforeseen climate changes affects USA agricultural economy and international trade of agricultural crops. Also how changes in international trade affects the united state agricultural economy a questioner was prepared and given to approximate farmers. The farmers operate under union called National Farmers Union the second largest farmers union after Farm Bureau. The union headquarters is in Washington DC although the farmers come from at least 32 different States. The questioner was handed to the selected farmers via their respective branches. For those who were not able to get the hard copies of the questionnaire an online method was selected. The questioner was to be taken in the morning hours before the farmers when questionnaire t out for their daily duties then handed in through the branches to the union headquarters in Washington DC.
Advantages of using a questionnaire for data collection
It is essential noting that there are other means of data collection such as sampling interviews among others but a questionnaire was preferred in my research. The main reason for using a questionnaire over the other methods was to cut on the cost of collecting data. Furthermore a questionnaire has the ability to collect data in the shortest time without deviating from the main subject. For this case it was easy to collect data as multiple answered questions were given. for those question which answers were not multiple the farmers were required to sate and briefly explain their views so as to fully enable me be able fully examine the question at hand (Olsen,2009).
For the farmers to be able to candidly answer the questions, the questionnaire was divided in two sections. The first section of the questionnaire was requesting the farmers to give the effects of unforeseen climate changes on the agricultural economy and international trade of agricultural crops while the second section tried to answer how the international trade changes affects the United States agricultural economy
It is worth noting that the changes in climate does not only affect the internal trade of agriculture but also extends to the international markets. As the farmers noted the decrease in production of grains crops over the last five years in USA has resulted to soaring cost of food stuffs around the world. America produces more than half of the world’s grain products. This means that the production of grain has decreased by 14% in the last five years, as indicated on the table below, resulting to at least 7% increase in the cost of grain related products across the world. The horticultural sector has not been left behind. Changes in climate conditions have resulted to at least 6% effect on the whole production followed by the effect of changes in international policies affecting the horticultural industry such as trade barriers among others. In 2006 America contributed 34.4 million metric tons of wheat to the international markets compared to 2009 when it contributed only 31.8 million metric tons which was more than 6% decrease in production. This was mostly attributed to the abrupt changes in weather patterns over the last two years.
Disadvantages of using a questionnaire for data collection
It was quiet clear that some of the questions were open. This generated large amount of data as every farmer had his or her own views. As a result the time taken to analyze the questionnaire was more than expected. The research exceeded the three weeks limit of analyzing data by two more weeks due to this. To limit this, the space available for writing was limited although most farmers wrote on other spaces available.
The other weakness of having used a questionnaire most farmers were not willing to answer some questions which thy thought will not help them in long run. For example most farmers did not the questions on the effect of international market to the American agricultural economy. To make the matters worse some of them had notion that their views given by them would be used by the union to oppress them since most of them had written their names. To help them they were encouraged by my team to give honest answer no matter despite the answer orientation to the positive or negative (Howard, 1989)
Implications of the above results
From the above analysis it is quiet clear that problems arising from unseen climatic changes must be handled in time. Over the last decade climate changes have affected the American agricultural economy by at least 5% most of which is as a result of global warming effects. If this trend continues, the international markets will loose 30% food supplied in the next two decades and this will pose a great threat to food security which is an important tool in achieving the millennium development goals.
It is also worth noting that federal governments’ regulations have highly affected the agricultural sector in America. It is important for the government to come up with policies that favors the farmers who forms the backbone of the agricultural sector. For example the market should be liberalized such that farmers can sell their produce where they wish to. As practiced in some states like Texas and California where farmers are restricted from selling all their produce to the international markets when prices are high, the practice is retrogressive and highly uncalled for. If such polices continues the out put will reduce significantly as the farmers will continue to struggle to make profits out of their produce (Forest, 1999).
In the current global food crisis all stake holders must be engaged and fully armed with the good will to solve the crisis. As indicated by the above statistics the food security has continuously declined over the years. In some countries especially those in the sub-Saharan Africa such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Latin America countries such as Haiti where many people are dying due to lack of food, the problem might even become more enormous in the next five years. The international trade organizations must come up with friendly policies which will open up trade to the poor countries especially in the Asian, Latin America and the African continent. Some of this policies may include minimizing trade barriers and taking stiff penalties to countries which engages in unfair trading practices such as manipulating the values of their currencies
It is now clear that rapidly changing climatic conditions have had dire consequences to American agricultural economy and the international markets as well. Besides being affected by the changing climate conditions, agriculture in America is also affected by changes occurring in international trade policies. the above research work have explicitly tried to establish the way farmers who are the biggest stake holders in the American agricultural economy can be helped to mitigate this problems. It is important for all agricultural stake holders in America and in the international markets to work in hand so as to ensure that production of agricultural crops in USA does not drop. Should this happen most countries will suffer as USA is one of the leading food exporter to the international markets.
From my findings it was evident that global warming and changes in international policies had a drastic effect on the American agricultural economy. This magnitude of these effects was larger than I had expected. From the data collected most farmers had underrated the devastation caused by global warming as it was seen to be a gradual occurrence yet climate changes were fast than expected. International policies such as the ban of consumption of GMO foods in some countries such as Sweden were also underrated. With time most farmers have come to acknowledge the effects of this. It is important to note that the farmers have now taken enough measures to caution against the effects.
Comparison to other studies
According to Judith, 1993climatic condition has affected the agricultural economy although not in a big magnitude. Her findings were not comprehensive as compared to mine as they did not relate the implication of climate changes to the global food market. Furthermore my findings have candidly explained how the federal governments can help farmers to overcome the problems arising .as compared to Oppenheimer, 2003the findings onlyfocused on the implications of changing international policies on the American agricultural market. Mine has gone ahead to give the measures which can adopt by the USA to shield it farmers from being affected by the changing policies. As stipulated by Luttrell, 1993the state was seen to be a non partisan in the failure of the agricultural economy America. In my findings it was clear that the state had also contributed to the failure of the economy as some of the policies they have adopted are not friendly to the sector. Some of them include limiting the amount of food crops the farmers can export to the international markets. In my research findings the farmers have requested the federal government to review these policies so that they can be enabled to compete well in the international markets.
The drastic changing climate changes has had a negative effects to the farmers in most states in America consequently affecting the sale of food stuffs to the international markets such as the European markets . Further research work should be carried on how this can be averted. Farmers should be educated on how they can handle the effects of the climatic changes both in short and long run.
Regular forums should be arranged by all the officials dealing with the international markets and the American farmers unions. This will help them discuss on emerging issues which affects both the international markets and the American agricultural economy. Through these forums all parties will be able to put forward their grievances and come up with possible solutions which will in turn avert the trend of decreasing food crop production from America to the international markets.
The federal governments should come up with better internal policies which protect farmers from being affected by fluctuating climate conditions. For example when crop failure occurs in any of the state farmers should be compensated for resources used regardless of whether they have harvested or not. This way the farmers will be encouraged to produce more in the subsequent seasons thus ensuring constant food supply at all times