Friday, 30 May 2008

What have you planted today?

THE ERA of cheap and plentiful food has been declared over, with a key
international report warning that high world food prices will continue for at
least a decade.Much bigger family food bills will remain an everyday fact of
life for consumers across the West, while for poor nations permanently dearer
food will spell widespread hunger, famine and civil conflict, the study from the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the UN Food and
Agriculture Organisation says.

The report says that after soaring in the past
year to record levels, food prices should fall back. But it added that the cost
of everything from grain to meat and dairy products will remain stuck
"substantially above" the average levels of the past 10 years. As ministers and
officials from around the globe prepare for a world food summit in Rome next
week, Angel Gurria, the OECD's Secretary-General, said prices should ease
gradually, but "most agricultural commodity prices over the next 10 years will
still exceed the average of the previous decade by 10 to 50 per cent". The UN
and OECD report predicts that average prices between now and 2017 for beef and
pork will be 20 per cent higher than the average in the past 10 years; those for
sugar will be 30 per cent higher; for wheat, maize and skimmed milk powder
between 40 and 60 per cent higher; for butter and oilseed produce more than 60
per cent higher; and for vegetable oils 80 per cent higher.

The increases in the cost of food were blamed by the report on a range of factors, including surging demand in emerging markets such as China and India as their populations grow richer and rising living standards lead to bigger appetites and changing diets.

Other critical driving forces in the long term included high oil prices,
urbanisation as the poor flock to developing world cities, extreme weather
blamed on global warming, exploding production of biofuels from crops and
fast-growing populations. The World Bank estimates that these factors have
combined to send overall world food prices up by 83 per cent in just three
years. Some of the forces driving prices higher are now set to fade, the
analysis concludes, with the huge scale of recent increases judged to be

The report cites "adverse weather in major grain-producing regions,
with spillover effects on crops and livestock that compete for the same food".
It says that these conditions were not new, and should pass. However, the UN and
OECD united to warn world leaders that the expected persistence of high food
prices in the longer term meant a global humanitarian emergency. "Current high
prices will hit the poor and hungry people hardest," the report says. Mr Gurria
emphasised that "the end of cheap food in a world where half the population
lives with less than $2 a day is a source of grave concern". With food shortages
and starvation rations in even some relatively rich developing countries
sparking riots and unrest, Jacques Diouf, the director-general of the FAO,

"Rising prices translate, unfortunately, as an increase in hunger and
civil strife. Uncertainty rules and our people are worried. Coherent action is
urgently needed by the international community to deal with the impact of higher
prices on the hungry and the poor." In urging action to try to rein in food
prices, the report calls for increased investment in agriculture and related
research, measures to help poorer countries diversify their economies and
improve governance and infrastructure. - The Times

The Australian Gary Duncan May 30, 2008

83% people! That's almost doubling of today's food costs.


Kez said...

It just makes me more and more determined to do more with my garden.

BTW, the link didn't work for me.

TheCrone said...

Ok, thanks for that Kez. I just copied the artical and hopefully gave the correct details at the end.

The Husband sent me that artical btw. He is now seeing what I have been saying for years. Got to love mainstream media hey!

molly said...

Scary stuff huh Lara! All the more reason, as Kez says for us to get moving.

I am also stocking up a 2 year pantry for things I wont be able to supply myself, rice, sunshine milk, matches, oils etc, the remainder of the pantry is 12 months.

In the short time I have been running a 12 month pantry it has saved a fortune.

Now to that garden!