Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Worried About Food

I'm worried about food. Russia and the Ukraine had a terrible fall, leading to projections for significantly reduced exports of grains. Now Australia, a major source of the world's grains, is flooding. I don't honestly know how much of the country's crops have been compromised but the flooding is not over yet...

A few days ago The Telegraph ran an article about potential food shortages titled, "One Poor Harvest Away from Chaos"
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthcomment/geoffrey-lean/8247029/One-poor-harvest-away-from-chaos.html

The Telegraph article reports:

"On Wednesday, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported that global food prices had hit a record high and were likely to go on rising, entering what Abdolreza Abbassian, its senior grains economist, called "danger territory"

"....Already they are higher than in 2008, when they drove the tally of the malnourished briefly above a billion for the first time in history, and caused riots in countries as far apart as Indonesia, Cameroon and Mexico. That ended nearly two decades during which the number of hungry people had stayed the same, while the world population grew by 1.2 billion, so that the proportion of an increasing humanity without enough to eat steadily fell...."

The Telegraph believes that demand, not inadequate supply, is prompting infalting food prices.

However, I'm not so sure about that.

Clearly speculators are playing a role in driving up food prices. I posted about this problem a couple of months ago.

But speculators are not the whole story.

Erratic weather is causing problems with crops across the world.

I expect that food prices are going to be very high this spring and summer and spark protests abroad.

Americans will also likely see food price increases.

If the people cannot unite about the need to free food from speculative gain by elite traders than I see little hope for humanity...

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