Among many jarring realities the COVID-19 pandemic opened our eyes to, food and supply scarcity was a big one. Many people saw for the first time empty shelves in their grocery stores. And although most of the products missing were non-essentials like toilet paper, paper towels and lysol bleach disinfectant, the recent baby formula shortage is a different story.
The reasons why food prices are soaring and items are missing from shelves stems from many reasons. The supply chain issues which began with shutdowns from the pandemic, worker shortages and even the war in Ukraine could lead to millions into famine. Even if communities are not starving to death, food shortages can lead to poor nutrition and disease.
Seeing where the most food comes from across the globe is important to understand how food shortages happen.
This map from howlongtocook.org compares countries by food exports. A lot of times when we look at comparison lists, we immediately look at who holds the number one spot. Here that would be the United States of America.
But what happens when smaller countries encounter food shortage and supply chain issues?
When looking at this information about countries that export the most food products by value, I challenged myself to spend less time looking at who was at the very top and spent time looking at the smaller countries.
Palau is the leader of countries that make less than $10 million dollars, but it relies on its export of food products as its third source of profit as a country.
In the second spot, Saint Helena’s top three exports are all food related products.
In third, Nauru exports food products as its number one financial gain for the small country. Taking a deeper look at how these smaller countries provide for themselves highlights the ingenuity of making the most of space, climate, and availability to provide.