Extraordinary Circumstances Raise the Specter of Higher Food Prices and Famine


| 9/6/2010 4:50:44 PM


Tags: food prices, famine, FAO, Empires of Food, the coming famine, solutions, Steven McFadden,

A-photo-of-Steven-McFaddenI called my 89-year-old mother on Sunday. As we talked she voiced a complaint. A can of green beans she had purchased for 89 cents over a year ago, cost her $1.59 when she bought the same brand and size over Labor Day weekend. She lives on a meager, fixed income from Social Security, so the price jump in food hit home for her as a hardship. Elsewhere around the world, for millions of people, the rising cost of food is becoming more than a hardship; it is a threat to their survival.

Perceiving that there are critical months ahead for the cost of food in general and the prospect of famine in particular, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has summoned the world’s grain experts to an ‘extraordinary’ session in Rome to address questions of global food supply. The emergency meeting is set for September 24.

The Famine - sculpture by artist Rowan Gillespie in Dublin, Ireland.

With memories still fresh of food riots set off by spiking prices just two years ago, agricultural experts see the potential for big trouble on the near horizon. Grain harvests in the USA are expected to be good, but there is big trouble in Russia, Germany, Canada, Argentina, Australia and elsewhere.

Uncertainty about future food supplies has drawn financial speculators into commodity markets in the hope that they might make massive profit. This is helping to drive food prices upward. As the prices go up, the potential for severe consequences also rises.



“The era of cheap, abundant food is over,” declares Australian journalist Julian Cribb in his new book, The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It.

Carmin
11/14/2010 3:48:27 PM

I don't grow much but I do sell at a farmer's market. I don't need subsidizing what I need is for the government agencies to not include people like me in their rules and regulations "to protect the public" every time some huge conglomerate has a massive recall because they are only worried about profit, while at the same time exempting the companies who caused the problem to begin with. I eat what I sell. I have to because I don't have the money to be able to afford to buy what some one else grew because I'm afraid to eat what I grow, like the high-ups in those companies. I believe the government should promote "victory gardens", cut down on the rules and regulations that prevent many people from doing so and regulate companies like Monsanto that are buying up the majority of seed companies. That is as frightening a monopoly as you can possibly have. In the USA and many other countries food shortages can be prevented by changing the ways of growing food.


Samantha Biggers_1
10/12/2010 7:35:10 PM

I find it great that people are becoming more aware of where their food comes from. For a short time the local grocery store chain had beef that said on the label that it was from the US, Canada, or Mexico. People were so outraged that the stores were forced to source their beef from the US only. It might not be grass fed but it is a step in the right direction. My husband and I are both 27 and raise our own meat. We are self sufficient on chicken and pork and should be on beef as of next year (it takes awhile to get a good cow herd going without loans). It can be hard sometimes. There are those out there that look at you like you are some kind of barbarian for being able to raise and slaughter an animal. I don't feel bad about it at all. Our animals have an extremely good life on pasture and one bad day.


Samantha Biggers_1
10/12/2010 7:31:23 PM

I find it great that people are becoming more aware of where their food comes from. For a short time the local grocery store chain had beef that said on the label that it was from the US, Canada, or Mexico. People were so outraged that the stores were forced to source their beef from the US only. It might not be grass fed but it is a step in the right direction. My husband and I are both 27 and raise our own meat. We are self sufficient on chicken and pork and should be on beef as of next year (it takes awhile to get a good cow herd going without loans). It can be hard sometimes. There are those out there that look at you like you are some kind of barbarian for being able to raise and slaughter an animal. I don't feel bad about it at all. Our animals have an extremely good life on pasture and one bad day.







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