Tag Archive: Food Shortages


Source: The Telegraph

Millions of the world’s poorest people and the state of the global economy are threatened by the food price rises, writes Geoffrey Lean.

‘Within a decade,” promised the top representative of the world’s mightiest country, “no man, woman or child will go to bed hungry.”

Dr Henry Kissinger, at the height of his powers as US Secretary of State, was speaking to the landmark 1974 World Food Conference. Since then, the number of hungry people worldwide has almost exactly doubled: from 460 million to 925 million.

And this week the airwaves have been full of warnings that the formidable figure could be about to increase further, as a new food crisis takes hold. Some experts warned that the world could be on the verge of a “nightmare scenario” of cut‑throat competition for the control of shrinking supplies.

The cause of such alarm? 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”.

That is bad enough for Britain, adding to the inflationary pressures from the soaring cost of oil and other commodities, not to mention the VAT increase. But for the world’s poor, who have to spend 80 per cent of their income on food, it could be catastrophic.

Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, warns that the rising prices are “a threat to global growth and social stability”, and Nicolas Sarkozy has identified them as a priority for the G20, which he chairs this year.

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.

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Source: Bradenton.com

David O’Brien is getting used to seeing damaged vegetables. The salesman for C&D Fruit and Vegetable in Manatee sees hundreds of acres of strawberries, cucumbers, beans and squash at the farm destroyed by the recent cold weather.

The result of all the produce destruction is being felt across the state as grocery shoppers are finding fresh vegetables in short supply along with soaring prices.

Arching her eyebrows at prices along the produce aisle, Ilene Ellman decided to alter her shopping routine.

Source: Natural News

Figures recently released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) index of 55 food commodities indicates that worldwide food prices hit a record high in December. Though the costs of some food commodities like rice, corn and soy actually decreased, oil seeds and sugar jumped significantly due to various factors including erratic weather and droughts, according to reports.

In the past, such ups and downs on the commodity market did not immediately affect actual food costs for consumers, but some experts say that this is no longer the case, and that “food inflation” will occur right alongside the commodity price gains. And rapid food inflation has already taken place in India, for example, with recent reports indicating that the country experienced an overall food inflation rate of 18 percent in 2010.

Low food stocks, droughts and poor weather conditions have all contributed to the escalating food crisis, which has led many nations to cut off exports in order to save supplies for their own populations. And the resulting global shortages only exacerbate the problem further as importing nations scramble to source needed commodities for their own populations.

Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the FAO, explained in a Bloomberg report that since not all commodity prices are rising, the overall indicator can be deceiving. Even so, prices across the board may increase as a result of a domino effect from the commodities that are in short supply, or even from the same conditions like droughts and poor weather that have caused shortages and price increases in the other categories.

Rising global food prices and supply uncertainty are just another reason why self-sufficiency is vital to long-term survival. Individuals who grow their own food and live off their own land as much as possible will not be affected by volatile supply and demand issues that affect the global food market.

Source: The Independent

As fires wreck Russia’s harvests and poor countries brace for shortages, it’s boom time for Kansas farmers.

Wildfires, floods, crippling droughts, and even a threatened plague of locusts have wrecked crops and ruined harvests around the world, raising fears of global food inflation shortage and food riots.

But as they hose off the dust and chaff caked on their exhausted combine harvesters, farmers in America’s plain states are adjusting to something possibly wonderful: a combination of unusually good wheat yields and suddenly soaring prices – thanks to disastrous circumstances elsewhere – has put them at the centre of a gold rush.

“It feels like Christmas in August,” admitted Darrell Hanavan, of the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee, noting that the harvest just completed in his state seems to have been the most bountiful for 25 years. More importantly, the dollar value for the crop is almost sure to set a record.

The thin soil of the plains is not always so kind. Scorching drought and relentless rains are frequent visitors to the breadbasket of America. So it is startling for some to find themselves singled out for good fortune, while the rest of the US combats an unemployment rate that refuses to come down.

Russia announced that weeks of fierce heat and uncontrolled fires would cost the country a quarter of its crop and that its wheat exports, which will be frozen from tomorrow, may not resume until next year. Output in Ukraine and Kazakhstan has slumped too. Canadian wheat farmers have been struggling with crops drowned by rains that won’t stop, and in eastern Australia, the wheat crop could be devastated by a plague of locusts expected to start hatching next week.

Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, and Indonesia and Thailand, which also both rely on imports of grain, complained this week that they face a sudden price squeeze on such staples as bread, pork and sugar and with that, the risk of social unrest of the kind witnessed in 2008, when food price hikes provoked riots in a number of countries.

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Source: The Independent

As fires wreck Russia’s harvests and poor countries brace for shortages, it’s boom time for Kansas farmers.

Wildfires, floods, crippling droughts, and even a threatened plague of locusts have wrecked crops and ruined harvests around the world, raising fears of global food inflation shortage and food riots.

But as they hose off the dust and chaff caked on their exhausted combine harvesters, farmers in America’s plain states are adjusting to something possibly wonderful: a combination of unusually good wheat yields and suddenly soaring prices – thanks to disastrous circumstances elsewhere – has put them at the centre of a gold rush.

“It feels like Christmas in August,” admitted Darrell Hanavan, of the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee, noting that the harvest just completed in his state seems to have been the most bountiful for 25 years. More importantly, the dollar value for the crop is almost sure to set a record.

The thin soil of the plains is not always so kind. Scorching drought and relentless rains are frequent visitors to the breadbasket of America. So it is startling for some to find themselves singled out for good fortune, while the rest of the US combats an unemployment rate that refuses to come down.

Russia announced that weeks of fierce heat and uncontrolled fires would cost the country a quarter of its crop and that its wheat exports, which will be frozen from tomorrow, may not resume until next year. Output in Ukraine and Kazakhstan has slumped too. Canadian wheat farmers have been struggling with crops drowned by rains that won’t stop, and in eastern Australia, the wheat crop could be devastated by a plague of locusts expected to start hatching next week.

Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, and Indonesia and Thailand, which also both rely on imports of grain, complained this week that they face a sudden price squeeze on such staples as bread, pork and sugar and with that, the risk of social unrest of the kind witnessed in 2008, when food price hikes provoked riots in a number of countries.

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Source: WSJ

Harsh heat and a lack of rain in Russia have killed half of the crop in some hard-hit areas. The slump in production in one of the world’s most fertile breadbaskets has pushed prices up 62% since early June, and last month saw the biggest and fastest increase since 1959.

Wheat prices, which briefly rose above $7 a bushel on Monday, are at their highest level since September 2008, the year when low supplies of the grain fueled a global food crisis that led to riots in several countries.

“That’s a massive increase in a very short time frame,” said Terry Roggensack, an agriculture specialist at the Hightower Report, a Chicago-based commodities firm. “It is a scramble period.”

While prices are still well below the levels of 2008 and global stockpiles are much stronger than they were two years ago, the specter of the 2008 shortage looms large, particularly for countries that can’t depend on their own production.

This weekend, Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, bought 180,000 metric tons of wheat, its second purchase in the past two weeks and more than it had initially planned. China is warning local businesses against grain hoarding. In India, officials have allowed once-plentiful stockpiles to rot in fields, leaving many people hungry and driving up local prices.

All are seeking to avoid a repeat of 2008, when Egypt, Haiti and Pakistan were among countries hit by riots over rising food costs. At one point, the World Bank said higher commodity costs had pushed up food prices 83% in three years. Commodity prices plunged amid the darkest days of the financial crisis later that year and in 2009. But even then, some analysts predicted a food crisis would return when the economy recovered.

Russia’s troubles are having an even bigger impact in part because many of the world’s wheat exporters have experienced some crop problems. Big exporters like Canada have struggled with excessive rains, while Australia has battled locusts. Patches of wheat-growing regions in the European Union also have been struck by drought.

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