Considered precious and therefore a source of great power, ancient civilizations invested enormous symbolism, prevented famine, waged wars, built and lost empires over salt for thousands of years. But now that salt is readily available almost everywhere on Earth – why do we still trade so much of it?
Ripe olives are a critical ingredient for olive oil. They’ve also been ripe with trade tension over the past two years. Spanish black olives, green olives and olive oil have all been embroiled in two recent trade disputes between the United States and the European Union (EU), resulting in higher tariffs and increased prices of Spanish olives and olive oils for U.S. consumers.
Responding to U.S. tariffs, China has imposed a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans since July last year. The tariff has remained in place as leverage in the trade war – a proxy for whether China perceives progress is being made or not in the negotiations.
Many American farmers and ranchers breathed a sigh of relief when the United States and Japan formally signed a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement in September. However, U.S. agricultural producers are not completely out of the woods.
Pomegranates figure prominently every Jewish New Year. Thanks to trade we can enjoy them nearly all year-round. But in order to continue enjoying a variety of foods – and sustain basic crop production – growers must have access to a variety of high-quality seeds.
Simple in appearance, pleasantly sweet, nutritious, and nearly universal in appeal, that Cavendish bunch of bananas on your counter comes off as pretty unassuming. In reality, it has been through jungle wars and trade wars and now sits on the precipice of extinction. Growing to love more varieties could help save trade in bananas.
Every February, two out of every three commercial bee hives in the United States are transported to California for the almond bloom. It’s just the start of an annual food pollinating bee tour. Anywhere from 60 to 75 percent of the bee population kept as livestock crisscross the United States foraging on the blooms of crops that will make eventually their way into our grocery stores and into overseas markets.
California almond growers have reason to worry about access to one of their biggest export markets. The Indian government increased tariffs on U.S. shelled almonds by 20 percent and non-shelled almonds by 17 percent in June. The increased cost is forecasted to cause a five percent drop in U.S. almond exports to India, impacting the 6,800 almond growers in California, who are mostly small to medium-size, family-run enterprises.
CBD is popping up in all types of new products from infused food and drink, to dietary supplements, lotions, oils, cosmetics and even pet treats. Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill may open up new avenues for U.S. farmers looking to cash in on growing demand for hemp-derived products, like trendy CBD. But U.S. farmers will have some catching up to do to compete in the global cannabis market.
Over 70 percent of water consumed globally is poured into crop and livestock production. But the water we need to drink, to grow food, and to produce industrial goods is under stress and becoming scarcer in parts of the world. What kinds of solutions offer better opportunities for managing scarce water resources to ensure we can continue growing enough food?