Food staples like rice nearly tripled in six months and at times increased 50% in just two weeks, primarily because of record oil prices and a weak dollar in 2008.
Presumably the rise in cost is due to the balance of supply and demand. Presumably too, the rise in production of biological fuels and other non-food uses of foodstuffs has been contributing to lack of supply, but the current biofuels craze alone does not account for all the rise in hunger. There’s also a rising population (70 million more mouths to feed annually); rate of increase of meat consumption rising faster than population growth; declining productivity of some highly productive farm lands; lack of new advances in agricultural science; due to all the easy advances having been already made; declines in production due to rising cost of fertilizers and fuels; declines in production due to increasing disruptions, notably warfare and climate change.
Ethanol production requires a relatively small part of our total production, perhaps 1- 5% in selected markets. What it has done is bring to light the growing pressure on food production. Those who have been involved in Agriculture for the past 20 years will tell you about the reports of demand out stripping supply, but until the food for energy debate no one in the mainstream noticed the fundamentals: land productivity and usage (which didn’t really matter until recently). Today, food prices are soaring not just because of corn going into ethanol but, because of drought, manipulation of energy supplies by OPEC (artificial scarcity), more protein-rich diets in developing countries, and a planet that’s adding more than 70 million people a year.
While we focus on the energy side of the supply constraint another what many consider to be the “right” thing gets ignored: organic farming. Organic farming is spreading fast, despite its lower crop yields. Among the 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, on average, organic farmland accounted for slightly less than 2% of the land under cultivation during the years 2002 to 2004. What others also manage to ignore is the fact that countries have subscribed to the Malthusian ideology of “artificial scarcity” of the food supply through the control of energy prices as set out by the Club of Rome.
According to Activist Post, several recent headlines indicate that food prices will continue their swift climb upward. These troubling new reports show that agriculture production and stored grains are critically low and experts are now predicting food shortages on a grand scale.
Look at a few mainstream headlines: Drought threatens global rice supply in the India Times; VA farmers say heat taking toll on crops, Associated Press; Severe food shortage follows lack of rainfall in Syria; and, finally, Corn prices bolt as USDA downsizes crop estimates, which states that, “Commodity professionals were caught off guard Wednesday by a U.S. Department of Agriculture report showing 1 million fewer acres of corn planted this year than earlier projected, and almost 300 million fewer bushels of corn in storage.” And these articles don’t begin to address crops being damaged by the toxic rain from the Gulf oil disaster.
We are back to recession economics and rapidly heading toward a deeper, longer “Third Depression.” With all recent economic indicators setting new record lows and deficits at record highs, this ship is only going one way folks, down, down to Chinatown. This WTC-Building 7-style-controlled-demolition of the U.S. economy has long been engineered by the borderless banksters and has been set in the same way to collapse at a free-fall rate. With all of the manufactured confusion it may be difficult to know where best to invest your limited assets, but it seems to be clear that Food is on the march.