Pulses & Grains

The United Kingdom has always relied on imported food; currently about 40 percent of what we eat is brought into this country. A legacy of Empire is that we import from around the world so that droughts and floods influence the prices of those foods on an almost daily basis.

Parts of India have suffered a second year of less than average rainfall meaning that pulses and grains are in short supply. Rice and wheat are the main cash crops and take precedence over pulses and grains. According to Government figures, India requires about 23m tonnes of pulses and grains for their own people each year, with only 17.2m tonnes produced in 2013 and 19.78m tonnes produced in 2014. That means large imports from other countries in the Asian region as this is the staple diet for the millions of non-meat eaters in India. This could of course mean a shortage for the health food shops in this country serving the vegetarian population.

To add to the problems in India, the lack of rain means that it has become difficult to extract salt from the vast salt flats in Gujurat State. This arid desert area is a leftover from a bygone age when this was all part of the vast Arabian Sea.

So we come back to the same old question. Do vast weather patterns influenced by the monsoons across Asia and El Nino in the Pacific Ocean over the centuries create floods, drought and famine or is this all down to climate change?

Adrian Binsted, The Editor