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Agriculture This Week: World hard to envision from here

Reference points shaded by where we live
health harvest 8
The world and how it realities to agriculture not easily understood living in Saskatchewan. (File Photo)

YORKTON - There are days as a columnist you sit at the keyboard thinking about your next effort and you realize just how isolated from the greater realities of the world we are here in Saskatchewan. 

It is with great confidence I suggest the vast majority of people in this province have spent no time abroad, and quite likely have never spent time in Vancouver or Toronto even. 

I have had ‘cups of coffee’ and little more in both Canadian cities, and can assure a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame and a Blues Jays game has little to do with what a huge city like TO actually is, nor was a one-day work conference and a short night in a hotel reflective of life in Vancouver. 

When we travel, either for business, or pleasure, we almost always only see the best of where we are going. 

People vacationing in Mexico do so at a resort, not the slums of a big city. 

The idea of slums, gun play on the streets, people starving, carrying water and not always clean water, and a long list of other issues impacting daily life are thankfully foreign to most of us here in Saskatchewan, and given the general bounty we have, should never occur for anyone here. 

That of course is a positive for those of us living here, but we are just more than a million people in a world of close to 8 billion. 

For farmers that 8 billion is the mouths they must feed, and they must do it in a world where there are volatilities which are frankly hard to get your head around from the relative safety and security of Saskatchewan. 

It’s hard to really understand the terror the people of Ukraine are facing with the Russian invasion, but it certainly impacts food production. Ukraine is a major crop producer and that is threatened, and sanctions make buying anything from Russia unpopular if not illegal. 

Drought is hitting East Africa — Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya — and it’s a bad one creating a humanitarian crisis endangering up to 25 million people.  

Real life threatening hunger is again hard to imagine, and the situation is made worse at present with grain prices so high, and money often as short as food in many countries. 

And when you think of drought, the resource of water refocuses. We know of major cities facing rationing – do lawns really need watered? But, there is a bigger question, about where the priority is when water resources dwindle? Do our taps still work – if you have taps, and many in this world do not? Or does farm irrigation or big business use the water? 

Food and water are paramount to life, and in Saskatchewan we generally have both, but that is not something all 8 billion can say, which suggests we as a planet have the basic question of how we look after everyone’s most basic needs still in need of an answer.