Natural disasters, erratic climate fluctuation and poor crop seasons may all be contributing to a recent increase in export bans — a decision where governments forbid exporting certain crops as a measure to protect domestic food supplies.
But those drastic measures have an impact on world food security, says CSIS’s Johanna Nesseth Tuttle, who directs the think tank’s Global Food Security Project.
As part CSIS’s Seven Revolutions initiative of identifying and analyzing the most important world trends up to 2030, Tuttle says there has been a bit of a flare up of export bans in the last few years.
“There’s been a lot of interest in export bans since 2008 when the food prices really spiked,” says Tuttle. “Several countries imposed export bans where they said ‘We’re hanging onto our food’ and they essentially hoarded food and wouldn’t let it out of their borders, which meant that import dependent countries that couldn’t grow their own food or didn’t grow that type of food were left high and dry — they could not get enough food or the prices had doubled and tripled to the point that their populations actually couldn’t afford the food.”
But even with extreme results such as famine and starvation, Tuttle says it’s not likely any country will say it will stop reserving the right to enact an export ban.