The cause of mass crop spoilage on key agricultural worlds has been attributed to a new disease affecting plants.
Dr Genevieve Kane of the Interstellar Association for Agriculture summarised the organisation’s findings:
“The rapid decay of plant life on multiple planets was caused by the same strain of advanced blight. Its origin and vectors remain unknown, and it has so far resisted all established methods of treatment.”
“Our analysis has not determined if the blight is a natural mutation or an artificial pathogen. Until we confirm this and develop a method of preventing further spread, viable cropland will become scarcer and the production of staple foods will continue to drop.”
“The Vandermeer Corporation has offered to assist the IAA with its research. The company’s experience of molecular diagnostics will hopefully contribute to a breakthrough.”
Journalist Adalyn Cross reported on this development for Vox Galactica:
“Speculation on the cause of the blight has spread like wildfire, with theories ranging from chronic mismanagement to industrial sabotage. Political enemies are also being blamed in every affected system, with competing factions quick to lay the blame at each other’s doorstep.”
“As tensions rise and billions find themselves short on food, such accusations are likely to escalate to dangerous levels. Trade initiatives and charitable imports are all proving helpful, but will that be enough to stave off disaster?”
A recent commodity appeal has spurred civil unrest in several systems, with civilians fearing that their respective governments are unable to cope with the widespread crop failures.
Vox Galactica published a report on developments by journalist Adalyn Cross:
“Following crop failures on a massive scale, the projected availability of staple foodstuffs has drastically fallen in a number of systems. This, in turn, has triggered increased prices, panic buying and stockpiling - all of which have exacerbated the problem.”
“On the most severely impacted worlds, such as Birmingham and Simpson's Eden, citizens are taking to the streets and demanding answers from the authorities. But with food supplies being strangled at the source, it appears little can be done to appease their frustration.”
Nathaniel Lopez of the Galactic Welfare Trust, a charitable aid foundation, made this statement:
“Low-income families and those dependent on welfare have been hit hardest by these shortages. Our organisation is distributing food cartridges, but frankly the magnitude of this situation dwarfs our efforts. Billions of people are at risk of going hungry if a solution cannot be found.”
“We call upon food manufacturers to help alleviate the problem by reducing prices. To those companies aiming to make a short-term profit, be warned – you could be contributing to significant loss of life from starvation.”
Two coordinated trade initiatives have been launched, spearheading efforts to mitigate the impact of low crop yields in key systems.
The initiatives have been organised by Crimson State Limited in the Diso system and Orerve Universal Limited in the Orerve system. The significant loss of crops in these agricultural centres is a primary cause for the low availability of staple foodstuffs.
The initiatives received praise from Dr Genevieve Kane of the Interstellar Association for Agriculture:
“This campaign is a step in the right direction, and with the help of the galactic community should stop the situation from becoming a full-scale crisis.”
“The IAA is currently investigating the reasons for such poor harvests, and it seems that a new form of blight may be responsible for the rapid degeneration of crops. Scientific teams are analysing samples of diseased tissue, and we expect to know more soon.”
Traders are asked to deliver pesticides, synthetic reagents and grain to Shifnalport in the Diso system and Watson Station in the Orerve system.
The initiative is scheduled to run from the 10th to the 16th of October 3305. If the final targets are met earlier than planned, the campaign will end immediately.