A new report from the World Bank states what has been obvious for months: food prices have spiked so high that the costs represent a threat to the ability of many people to feed themselves. The organization also offered solutions it would like to implement, but none of them comes close to a solution to the mammoth problem. And solutions cannot come from elsewhere either. Food shortages are too great, and the nations that might offer aid have become hog-tied by moves toward austerity.
In the latest edition of its Food Price Watch report, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim commented:
Food prices rose again sharply threatening the health and well-being of millions of people. Africa and the Middle East are particularly vulnerable, but so are people in other countries where the prices of grains have gone up abruptly.
Maize prices were up 25% from June to July, as was the price of wheat. Soybean prices rose 17%. The price of internationally traded commodities moved 1% above the previous high in February 2011. The geographic areas hurt most Read more…
Food prices hit record highs in February 2011 and stoked protests connected to the Arab Spring wave of civil unrest in some North African and Middle Eastern countries. They then receded, but started to grow again in January.
The index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 215,9 points in March, up from a revised 215,4 points in February, FAO data showed.
Its cereal price index averaged 227 points in March, up from February, with maize prices showing gains, supported by low inventories and a strong soybean market, the FAO said.
“You can see prices in the near term rising even further,” FAO’s senior economist and grain analyst Abdolreza Abbassian said before the index update.
The FAO also confirmed its earlier forecast for world wheat output to fall 1,4% from Read more…
MEXICO CITY — A drought that a government official called the most severe Mexico had ever faced has left two million people without access to water and, coupled with a cold snap, has devastated cropland in nearly half of the country.
The government in the past week has authorized $2.63 billion in aid, including potable water, food and temporary jobs for the most affected areas, rural communities in 19 of Mexico’s 31 states. But officials warned that no serious relief was expected for at least another five months, when the rainy season typically begins in earnest.
While the authorities say they expect the situation to worsen, one of the five worst-affected states, Zacatecas, got a reprieve on Sunday. Heriberto Félix Guerra, head of the Ministry of Social Development, saw the Read more…
Nico Bala Nuhan, from the food resilience agency in the province, known as NTT, said a total of 95,937 people spread across 21 districts and cities were facing serious food shortages due to climate change-induced drought.
The districts included South Central Timor and North East Timor, Belu near the East Timor border, East Sumba, East Flores and Lembata in the Lesser Sunda Islands.
“So there are Read more…
The researchers point to two main factors driving the increase in food prices
The waves of social unrest and political instability seen recently around the world have coincided with large peaks in global food prices, US researchers have found.
They warn that unless something is done urgently to address rising food prices, it could trigger more widespread trouble in the near future.
Professor Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of the New England Complex Systems Institute, and colleagues, correlated the dates of riots around the world with data from the United Nations that plots changes in the price of food.
They found evidence that episodes of social unrest in North Africa and the Middle East coincided closely with peaks in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index.
Reporting their findings on the pre-press website arXiv.org the researchers say that although the riots reflect many factors such as the long-standing political failings of governments, high food prices provide a tipping point.
“There are indeed many factors that can contribute to unrest,” Bar-Yam explains. “What we see, however, is that these conditions can Read more…
(NaturalNews) Food prices are skyrocketing all across the globe, and there’s no end in sight. The United Nations says food inflation is currently at 30% a year, and the fast-eroding value of the dollar is causing food prices to appear even higher (in contrast to a weakening currency). As the dollar drops in value due to runaway money printing at the Federal Reserve, the cost to import foods from other nations looks to double in just the next two years — and possibly every two years thereafter.
That’s probably why investors around the globe are flocking to farmland as the new growth industry. “Investors are pouring into farmland in the U.S. and parts of Europe, Latin America and Africa as global food prices soar,” reports Bloomberg magazine (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-…). “A fund controlled by George Soros, the billionaire hedge-fund manager, owns 23.4 percent of South American farmland venture Adecoagro SA.”
Jim Rogers is also quoted in the same story, saying, “I have frequently told people that one of the best investments in the world will be farmland.”
That’s because demand for food is accelerating even as Read more…