hops burn, lentil export banned; beer and Indian food in peril!
Two more cases of imminent food shortages in the last couple days! On Monday, about 4% of this year's US crop of hops burned in a fire. And last week, the Indian government banned export of lentils to "ease inflation in the Indian domestic market." Relevant quotes:
And on the lentils:
The United States produces 24 percent of the world's hops, and about three-fourths of the U.S. crop comes from the Yakima Valley. Hops were a $77 million crop in Washington state in 2004. More than 40 families grow hops in the valley, which is dotted with orchards, vineyards and farms.
Fires have long been an expensive danger at hop warehouses, largely because of the potential for spontaneous combustion from heat buildup in bales of resin-loaded varieties.
To understand the nature of the crisis, you have to understand how lentils fit in to the cuisine. Each dal has an important culinary role in traditional dishes. For all Indians, a warm bowl of dal complements the meal, but for vegetarians -- in fact, for a substantial percentage of the population, who shun meat for religious reasons -- dal is the main source of protein.