After setting a record this year, the agricultural trade deficit will balloon further, to $27.5 billion in fiscal 2024, thanks to the unyielding American appetite for fresh produce, coffee, and wine, say government forecasters. More food and ag imports will flow into the United States at the same time that farm exports shrink, led by a decline in sales to China.
In Central America's Dry Corridor, a historically drought-prone region that stretches from Mexico to Panama and is home to 10.5 million people, climate change is producing longer and more frequent dry spells and forcing a growing number of farmers to attempt to migrate to the U.S., according to FERN's latest story, published with The Weather Channel. (No paywall)
Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the Trump cabinet are holding a conference in Miami with Central American leaders, pressing them to discourage their citizens from migrating to the United States, says the LA Times. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin will be in attendance, along with officials from the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America or Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — countries known for their high murder rates, extreme poverty and violence.
Vast swathes of coffee-growing territory in Central and South America may become too hot for the comfort of coffee trees in coming decades, thanks to global warming, says Eater, warning "coffee is under threat."
"Extreme poverty, child mortality, and hunger all fell by around half between 1990 and 2015," thanks to the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2000, says the International Food Policy Research Institute in its 2016 Global Food Policy Report.
Central America and Haiti are suffering one of the worst droughts in decades due in part to the strong El Niño weather pattern, "with small-scale farmers sustaining heavy losses in staple crop production," says the Famine Early Warning Network (FEWS NET) created by USAID.
Colombia, the third-largest coffee grower in the world, will harvest 13 million bags of Arabica beans in the coming season, its largest crop in two decades.
The World Bank says international food prices fell by 6 percent over a four-month stretch and are the lowest in four years. Lower wheat prices drove the decline, says the bank's Food Price Watch.
Coffee production is on the rise in Colombia and Central America, where growers battle the rust fungus, said USDA in its Coffee: World Markets and Trade report.