The other day I was having a discussion with a couple of friends and asked a simple question which not one was able to answer. The question was:
What is normal today?
There may be countless answers to this question and most folks will have a variety of comments, but the word normal may never be appreciated by this generation. What our eyes have perceived as normal may never be normal again and what we may be accustomed to, may shock you today about things that we took for granted… such as seeing food shelves in your local grocery store always stocked. Now many stores have not stocked shelves because most products that we took for granted are in short supply.
The availability of food products is not the only commodity that is becoming harder to get, but also things such as automobiles and associated modes of transportation are getting almost impossible to get. You need to wait a minimum of 24 months before you get a new vehicle and car parts are almost impossible to get. The automotive industry is being decimated by Chinese distribution systems not only for chips and parts but for many other needs by the rest of the planet. The lack of supply and decreasing products availability to us is starting to be visible but our government has not put a light on it because they do not want citizens to panic.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck early in 2020, fear began to mount around global food supply chains. Food shortages in Canada driven by panic buying and the retooling of supply chains by institutions and restaurants to retail vendors – prompted fears of food price spikes domestically, while virus containment measures and uncertainty regarding global commodity trade sparked concern globally.
Parallels were quickly drawn to the 2007-08 global food price crisis, as some countries began putting in place export restrictions to protect food supplies for their own populations in the face of the pandemic. In 2007-08, major climate-related crop losses in breadbaskets combined with skyrocketing oil prices and a global recession to produce record-high food prices, compounded by a domino of export restrictions. This can at the expense of nations relying on food imports, resulting in widespread social unrest.
Shortages at grocery stores across the country have grown acute in recent weeks as omicron continues to spread, and winter storms have piled on to the supply chain struggles and labor shortages. The shortages being reported nationwide are widespread, impacting produce and meat as well as packaged goods. While items are harder to find, many also cost more with rising inflation. As the world reaches the two-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, more items are becoming scarce because of global supply chain disruptions such as congestion at ports and shortages of truck drivers and service workers.
Part of the scarcity consumers are seeing on store shelves is due to pandemic trends that never abated – and are exacerbated by omicron. Canadians are eating at home more than they used to, especially since offices and some schools remain with uncertainty. These situations will become more and more prevalent as time goes on. I believe that our government structure knows that we are facing some bad times ahead and our government does not want to create a buying frenzy as it will create more chaos and confusion. The unfortunate position that these times find us in is that many folks do not have the liberty of having many choices and deciding what is a priority in their lives and their family’s lives will dictate what they spend their last few dollars on.
Making a decision on paying for your rent or putting food on the table will become a bigger issue as time goes on with constraints and restrictions that government puts on all of us in the coming months and years ahead. When families are put in these compromising situations, survival kicks in and keeping food on you table becomes primary. The only issue with food and food rationing is that we may not have all that we need to, and this is when the underground economy kicks in and all bets are off. When folks go into survival mode and keeping their families alive and fully engaged is when the reality will kick in and most will do what it takes to stay alive. These comments may seem totally out of left field, but this is coming down the pipeline and could happen sooner than later.
The common point of this pandemic is their serious negative effects on the global economy. Considering the food supply chain, one of the most important sectors of the economy, it has been seen that COVID-19 has an impact on the whole process from the field to the consumer. In the light of recent challenges in food supply chain, there is now considerable concern about food production, processing, distribution, and demand. COVID-19 resulted in the movement restrictions of workers, changes in demand of consumers, closure of food production facilities, restricted food trade policies, and financial pressures in food supply chain. Therefore, governments should facilitate the movement of workers and agri-food products.
Government, as institutions are a blessing and a curse… unfortunately, we need to cooperate and work with our local institutions because if we do not… chaos will continue, and life could be further restricted. One final point that needs to be made is who really benefits from current disruptions and who is driving the narrative? The rent question is one that our institutions can handle better by throwing money at the system but throwing money at the food chain and having it work is another thing.
Food anxiety will drive agendas faster and with fury if there is nothing to eat on your table, however, on the rent question…
The rent cheque is in the mail…