As Southeast Asia enters what should be a cooler season, a record-breaking heat wave is sweeping the region, bringing temperatures as high as 44°C. Vietnam alone has already experienced this extreme heat in early May, signaling that it’s going to be a long and hot summer. This year’s heat wave is considered exceptional, even for a region that is accustomed to cold weather from April to May.
Thailand is already feeling the impact of the heat wave, as the country has decided to limit rice production due to the shortage of water. Other countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and India, which are major players in the global food supply chain, are also experiencing extreme heat and droughts. The situation is causing a global emergency in the food supply chain, as a shortage from these regions would exacerbate the already existing pressure on the global food supply caused by the conflict in Ukraine.
The El Niño phenomenon is said to be the cause of the current heat wave, and it is expected to last until winter. This climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean causes droughts in some regions of Southeast Asia, Australia, and Indonesia. The World Meteorological Organization and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have already predicted the occurrence of El Niño from May to July of this year. In addition, recent winter rainfall in Southeast Asia has been lower than usual, exacerbating the effects of the heat wave.
The effects of the heat wave on the food supply chain could be catastrophic, as Southeast Asia is a major producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, and palm oil. A shortage of these crops would affect food prices globally, leading to inflation and food insecurity in some regions. The international community should take note of this situation and work together to mitigate its impact.
In conclusion, the current heat wave in Southeast Asia is a threat to the global food supply chain. Experts attribute it to the El Niño phenomenon, which is expected to last until winter. As a major producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, and palm oil, Southeast Asia’s shortage of crops could have catastrophic effects on the global food supply, exacerbating the pressure caused by the conflict in Ukraine. The international community should work together to mitigate the impact of this crisis on food prices and insecurity.