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Offline Yrys

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The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« on: April 21, 2008, 23:50:51 »
Considering people in the street in Haïti, Égypte, Phillipines and (Bangladesh, Argentine, Chine, Vietnam) elsewhere, I thought those informations could interested
some people...

The cost of food: facts and figures , BBC

"Explore the facts and figures behind the rising price of food across the globe."

... and that opinion .

The silent tsunami , Economist.com

Interesting links at the right of that article, in the Economist.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2008, 02:33:46 by Yrys »
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Offline Yrys

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2008, 22:25:17 »
I wonder how many people are daying daily  of hunger now, considering that on a normal year,
when everithing goes as "usual" it's aroung 100 000 ?

Assessing the global food crisis

Quote
"A silent tsunami which knows no borders sweeping the world".

That is how the head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) summed up the global food shortages. It is certainly a storm that has hit with little warning and has
plunged an extra 100 million people into poverty. The crisis has triggered riots in Haiti, Cameroon, Indonesia and Egypt and is deemed a dangerous threat to stability.
It is not so much famine that is the worry, it is widespread misery and malnutrition.

The WFP's biggest concern is for the people living on 50 cents a day who have nothing to fall back on.

Budget shortfall

Amongst these are the 70 million people the organisation helps with food aid. The costs of that aid have risen so sharply the WFP is now facing a $750m (£377m)
shortfall in its budget. It means some of their programmes may have to be cut and rations reduced. So why have food prices soared?

The rises are due to a lethal combination of high fuel costs, bad weather in key food producing countries, the increase in land allocated to bio-fuels, and a surge
in demand - much of it from the rising middle classes of China and India. The problem is that once the price of rice or wheat has risen, other factors kick in which
make things worse.

There is panic and people start hoarding, speculators buy up supply, and food producing countries impose export controls to try and preserve food for their own people.
This then means less is available to be exported to countries which rely on food imports. What can be done to solve the crisis?

On an optimistic note, WFP head Josette Sheeran said she was confident the world could produce the food it needed, it was just a question of riding this difficult period
and getting enough resources to invest.


Agriculture stopped being sexy, it was all about unglamorous logistics

Amy Barry, Oxfam
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Offline Yrys

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2008, 00:06:31 »
LatAm leaders in food price pact

Quote
Four Latin American leaders, meeting in Caracas, have agreed on a $100m (£50m) scheme to combat the impact of rising food prices on the region's poor.
The presidents of Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela and Cuba's vice-president also agreed on joint programmes to promote the development of agriculture.

Global food prices have risen in response to extra fuel costs and increased demand from India and China. The summit also blamed a US push for increased production
of biofuels. Summit host, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, said the food crisis was "the biggest demonstration of the historic failure of the capitalist model". He told
fellow leaders that they needed to create a distribution network "so we don't fall into the hands of intermediaries and speculators, which stop millions from receiving food"

Few details of how the programme will work were given at the summit. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said: "This issue is really crucial for the future of our people,
most of all to the people of the poorest countries." Mr Ortega said that in the last year the price of rice had increased by 70% and the price of wheat by 130% and that
the social impact these rises was already being felt across the world.

'Silent tsunami'

Mr Chavez and Mr Ortega were joined at the summit by Cuban Vice-President Carlos Lage and President Evo Morales of Bolivia. All four countries comprise the ALBA
trading bloc, which was formed by Mr Chavez as an alternative to US-backed free-trade agreements.

Correspondents say import-dependent countries, in particular Cuba, have been hit by the rise in global food prices. Venezuela, too, suffers from shortages. Mr Chavez
blames them on local businesses, but critics point to government price controls.

The increases, dubbed by the United Nations World Food Programme a "silent tsunami", have sparked riots in some countries, including Haiti, Cameroon and Indonesia.
The UN warns that high prices are expected to continue despite increased production.
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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2008, 13:48:09 »
Food inflation `monster' coming, experts warn
Politicians blamed for what some call foolish biofuel policies

Apr 25, 2008 01:31 PM
Terry Pedwell
THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA–Soaring fuel and grain prices have some economic researchers warning of catastrophic food inflation and political unrest within a year, the likes of which hasn't been seen in Canada since the 1970s.
They're partly blaming politicians for pumping billions of dollars into what they call wrongheaded biofuel technologies, and for promoting monetary policies that have driven up the price of oil.
"What they have done is potentially unleashed a monster," says Ian Lee, MBA director at Carleton University's Sprott School of Business.

"It's not going to be good news," he said, predicting that Canada could face food inflation much like what was experienced in the Trudeau era if prices continue to rise unchecked.
Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau imposed wage and price controls in the mid-'70s in an effort to steady an economy facing out-of-control inflation brought on by sharp increases in food and energy costs.

Despite a near double-digit increase in the price of bread, Canada has recently enjoyed low inflation rates – pegged at 1.4 per cent in March – largely thanks to heated competition among food retailers and the high value of the Canadian dollar.
However, rising food and energy costs will push overall inflation to more than double the March rate by next year, Toronto-based CIBC World Markets Inc. predicted in its most recent quarterly forecast.

Consumers can expect meat and other food prices to slowly rise in the weeks and months ahead, the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors warned yesterday.
However, ever-escalating grain and energy costs could result in even greater price "shocks" within a year if slumping world economies combine with rising food prices, Lee is predicting.
Lee is especially critical of governments for altering the world food supply by investing heavily in the production of corn-based biofuels, including biodiesel and ethanol.

"It's got to go down as one of the dumbest decisions ever," Lee says of creating biofuels from agricultural products that have traditionally been part of the food chain.
"It has no appreciable impact on the cost of energy, and it's had a huge impact on the cost of food."

Policy experts disagree over whether subsidizing ethanol production with tax dollars has been a good or bad thing.

The Harper Conservatives have committed $2.2 billion over nine years to developing Canada's biofuels industry. Ontario has invested in ethanol production. The United States is spending billions more.
Tim Haig, chairman of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, lays blame for escalating food prices squarely at the feet of big oil companies.
"The inescapable conclusion is that higher oil prices are the fundamental source of the inflationary pressure on food," Haig, president and CEO of Canada's largest biodiesel producer, BIOX Corp., wrote last week.

There are other factors involved in pushing prices higher, including the burgeoning Asian middle class and its hunger for meat and products that use more energy, as well as market speculators.
"And, yes, the grains and oilseeds that are being used in biofuels," Haig acknowledged.

But as demand for corn has grown along with the biofuels industry, so has supply, he argued.
Using food sources to produce alternative energy sources, however, has proven to be a colossal mistake, says Murray Fulton, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan's Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics.
"My view is that it's not a very smart policy move," said Fulton.

"There are other biofuel activities that we could be looking at," he said, suggesting cellulosic ethanol as an alternative to ethanol created from corn.
It sounds a little like Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold, but Fulton argues that governments should be investing in biotechnology that can transform straw, and other plant wastes, into ``green" gold.

"The advantage of this technology is that it doesn't use the actual seed of the plant," says Fulton.
"They're using waste material, products that come from less productive farmland, often land that is not in food production at all."
As 2008 began, deep instability in the world's financial markets seemed to be the worst headache for the global economy.

But now the threat of a food crisis is mounting daily, with food riots breaking out in poorer countries in Africa, south Asia and elsewhere.
Canada has responded to riots in Haiti, which last weekend cost the life of a UN peacekeeper, by promising more unspecified aid and participating this week in a high-level international meeting in Port-au-Prince to discuss the food crisis.
Haiti is already the second-largest recipient of Canadian aid.

No one should expect food riots in Canada, but politicians should be leery of the effects of ever-increasing food and energy prices on their own fortunes, said Lee.
"The impact on Canada obviously isn't going to be the same as on the third world," he said.
"Nonetheless, when food starts to become much more expensive, and you have food inflation emerging, it always has consequences."

"It has political consequences."
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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2008, 14:30:04 »
Why grocery bills are set to soar , Gloge & Mail

Quote
Canada's near-free-ride on food inflation is coming to an end and consumers better brace for some steep increases in their grocery bills.

Food prices have been largely flat for months, mainly because of the surging Canadian dollar, which has reduced the cost of importing products from the United States
such as fruits and vegetables. But with the dollar stabilizing near parity with the U.S. greenback and oil hitting record levels, "Canada's good luck on food prices is likely
to run out in 2009," said Avery Shenfeld, a senior economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Mr. Shenfeld estimates food inflation will jump from zero to 3.5 per cent next year, outpacing the overall inflation rate for the first time in years. Another CIBC report
forecast that oil prices will almost double by 2012, sending gasoline to $2.25 a litre."If you take [rising food costs] and energy inflation, we're going to go from a country
that had no inflation problem at all to a country where the Bank of Canada might be raising interest rates next year to calm inflation," he said.

Prices for bread, pasta and flour have already climbed more than 8 per cent in some stores. "There have already been noticeable price increases at the shelf level,"
said Dave Wilkes, vice-president of the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, which represents major grocery-store chains.

Maple Leaf Foods, one of Canada's largest food companies, has jacked up the average price of a loaf of its bread by 40 cents in the past six months. More increases are
likely if wheat prices remain high, said Michael McCain, the company's chief executive officer. "I think there's undoubtedly food inflation ahead of us here in Canada," he
said yesterday. "These are stunningly, stunningly challenging times."

Several forces that have shielded Canadians from serious food inflation are losing their effectiveness. The loonie soared 17 per cent against the U.S. dollar last year, but
few experts expect it to rise much more. That means Canadians will start feeling the full impact of record high prices for commodities such as wheat, corn and soybeans,
which are priced in U.S. dollars. Rising fuel costs will also pump up shipping costs. Meat prices have been low because of a glut of livestock, particularly hogs, in Canada
and the United States. But herds on both sides of the border are starting to come down in size because farmers have been losing so much money. The futures market is
indicating that meat prices will rise by next fall.

Costs for farmers have also skyrocketed. The price of fertilizer has more than doubled since last fall, while diesel fuel and other chemicals have also gone way up.
Meanwhile, commodity markets have gyrated wildly in recent weeks, sending the price of wheat, canola and corn soaring one day and plummeting the next. That
has added more risk for farmers and left many wondering if the markets are working at all.

"It's been very disruptive," said Eric Fridfinnson, a farmer in Manitoba who has been trying to figure out how much he might get for his crops this year. "I think that there
really does need to be an examination of all futures markets." Many farmers blame the growing influence of investment funds for distorting commodity prices. According
to figures compiled by Gresham Investment Management, a commodities brokerage in New York, the amount of speculative money in commodities futures - that is,
investors such as big funds that don't buy or sell the physical commodity but merely bet on price movements - was less than $5-billion (U.S.) in 2000. Last year, it
ballooned to roughly $175-billion.

By some estimates, investment funds control 50 per cent of the wheat traded on the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the world's biggest
commodity markets. "Even the most plain-Jane investors are being told they have to be in commodities," said Michael Swanson, an agricultural economist with Wells
Fargo in Minneapolis. Regulators and fund managers say the funds provide valuable liquidity to the markets. They also point out that the average fund investor is a
middle-class worker saving for retirement.

Along with investment funds, there has also been growing concern about shrinking global grain supplies - wheat stocks are at a 30-year low - and the impact of biofuels.
The U.S. government estimates that more than 30 per cent of next year's corn crop will be used to make ethanol. That compares with 10 per cent five years ago.
During a special meeting in Washington this week held to discuss agricultural issues, Tom Buis, head of the U.S. National Farmers Union, had this blunt assessment :
"We've got a train wreck coming that's going to be greater than anything we've ever seen in agriculture."
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Offline Yrys

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2008, 20:11:38 »
Displaced Kenya farmers add to food woes

Quote
MOMBASA, Kenya (CNN) -- Kennedy Ombuki is a farmer. In normal times, he grows corn, maize, potatoes and peas on the green slopes near Molo. "They were
export peas," he says proudly. But these are not normal times in Kenya, and Ombuki is bitter.

He is a refugee in his own country. "It is indeed sad to live in this camp when I have my farm. I am a beggar now," he says outside his tent in a displaced camp in Molo
town, on the edge of the Rift Valley. He had to flee when a rival tribe raided his farm. They stole his corn and torched the fields. They even tore the tin roof off the house
to sell as scrap metal. "They started fighting, destroying and burning houses and killing people," says Ombuki. "We could not wait to die."

So they fled to a ramshackle camp for displaced people. Many thousands of farmers are among the 300,000 people displaced in the fallout of Kenya's disputed elections.
They mostly come from the fertile Rift Valley of Kenya, the breadbasket of the country, putting more pressure on already skyrocketing food prices. The global food prices
crisis led food agencies to hit the panic button.

The World Food Program (WFP) has put out an urgent appeal asking for at least $500 million extra donor money to help cover the shortfall caused by global food price
hikes. Otherwise they will have to start rationing food to the hungry. Kenya is no exception. The WFP is spending 50 percent more on their food purchases compared
with last year. Factor in increased fuel prices and insecurity in the region, and they feel the pinch even more.

Don't Miss


    * Special:  Food crisis


    * Why prices are rising


"This means with the same amount of money this year, we will be able to feed less people," says Peter Smerdon of WFP Kenya. "It also raises the possibility that there
will be a great deal more people who will need humanitarian assistance." There will be more mouths to feed -- in a region already known for its sheer volume of food aid.

More than 7 million people depend on food aid here. All of it passes through Mombassa, on Kenya's coast. The port services Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Northern Angola
and Somalia. This is the ground zero of food aid. And if farmers like Ombuki stay off their land, it could only get worse.

The government of Kenya is urging farmers to return to their land. But four farmers were reportedly killed recently in the Molo area. They were trying to plant food
again. "If you have seen danger over there, you can't just run towards," says Ombuki, "because they usually don't joke, they kill."
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Offline wildman0101

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2008, 20:56:22 »
oh sure now they tell us...  so you figuired it out wow man ..took you long enough mr politician..duh
oh by the way we have been there ,,,are there,, done that..
so you clued in ...woooppeeee.
damn we should appropriate your pension like you did ours mr man...
ive seen and observed some of our younger generation
they are a tight knit group,,they care about each other and that shows leadership..
so go home,,, retire,,,collect your gold plated pension and let the young-one have a go
just my thoughts and maybe a bit of a rant..
mods please edit for contents,,, spelling ect.
ill shut-up now
                                                best regards to all,,,
                                                    scoty b


scoty b (aka the brat)
so my sister say's
she would know as she
pointed out ,,,, quote
my lil brother is one bad "mo-fo"
dont f*** with him you'll just get hurt.

Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2008, 21:14:49 »
oh sure now they tell us...  so you figuired it out wow man ..took you long enough mr politician..duh
oh by the way we have been there ,,,are there,, done that..
so you clued in ...woooppeeee.
damn we should appropriate your pension like you did ours mr man...
ive seen and observed some of our younger generation
they are a tight knit group,,they care about each other and that shows leadership..
so go home,,, retire,,,collect your gold plated pension and let the young-one have a go
just my thoughts and maybe a bit of a rant..
mods please edit for contents,,, spelling ect.
ill shut-up now
                                                best regards to all,,,
                                                    scoty b




Jeez Scoty, you drinking again? ;D
Corruption in politics doesn't scare me.
What scares me is how comfortable people are doing nothing about it.

Offline Yrys

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2008, 21:24:12 »
Jeez Scoty, you drinking again? ;D

from another thread :

having a beer,,smoking a cig... just finished planting up my veggie garden
and listening to ccr (credence clear water revival) (loud)ish
damn im empty (goin for a beer)
                                       best regards,,,
                                             scoty b


So drinking ? Yup!
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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2008, 22:17:57 »
Longer research piece from the U.S. Congressional Research Service (.pdf attached below)....

"Summary:

U.S. food prices rose 4% in 2007 and are expected to gain 3.5% to 4.5% in 2008. Higher farm commodity prices and energy costs are the leading factors behind higher food prices. Farm commodity prices have surged because (1) demand for corn for ethanol is competing with food and feed for acreage; (2) global food grain and oilseed supplies are low due to poor harvests; (3) the weak dollar has increased U.S. exports; (4) rising incomes in large, rapidly emerging economies have changed eating habits; and (5) input costs have increased. Higher energy costs increase transportation, processing, and retail costs. Although the cost of commodities such as corn or wheat are a small part of the final retail price of most food products, they have risen enough to have an impact on retail prices. Generally, price changes at the farm level have a diminished impact on retail prices, especially for highly processed products. The impact of higher food prices on U.S. households varies according to income. Lower-income households spend a greater portion of their income on food and feel price hikes more acutely than high-income families. Higher food costs impact domestic food assistance efforts in numerous ways depending on whether benefits are indexed, enrollments are limited, or additional funds are made available. Higher food and transportation costs also reduce the impact of U.S. contributions of food aid under current budget constraints."
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Offline Booked_Spice

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2008, 23:39:30 »
LOL.. Good thing , my neighbor is raising his own beef.. and we already bought a side. I should go purchase some chickens, got the pigs.. I am all set in the meat department.. LOL
I am really trying to see things from your point of view. But I find it really hard to stick my head that far up my butt.

Offline wildman0101

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2008, 23:53:15 »
not talking till i see my lawyer...
damn hes here with me,,,, now im in real trouble
                                             cheers,,,
                                             scoty b
scoty b (aka the brat)
so my sister say's
she would know as she
pointed out ,,,, quote
my lil brother is one bad "mo-fo"
dont f*** with him you'll just get hurt.

Offline Carcharodon Carcharias

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2008, 00:14:59 »
I keep my weekly food bill under 90 bucks..

Here is a typical weekly example, frozen veggies, the usual three, 3kg for about $8

A 5kg bag of potatoes, about $10

3 litres of orange mango juice about $3

5 chook breast at $11/kg usually about $17

1kg snags about $3

1kg of bananas about $1

cat food tins, about $20

Some red meat, scotch fillet about $15, or lamb cutlets about the same.

The odd pack of cheese, eggs, beer whisky, and milk too, plus butter etc as required.

I buy no name when I can too, except for cat food, they eat better than me.

A Big Mac is about $3.45 for the international 'what is a BM worth in your country' price.
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Offline Yrys

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2008, 00:18:42 »
1kg snags about $3

Even with a translator, I don't understand that thing... Snag ?
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Offline Booked_Spice

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2008, 00:19:20 »
I wish my food bill was that low. Wait it is that low, when hubby is not around.

Actually my food bill is cheaper then our animal food bill a month. That is another story and another topic.
I am really trying to see things from your point of view. But I find it really hard to stick my head that far up my butt.

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2008, 00:57:39 »
Even with a translator, I don't understand that thing... Snag ?

snags = bangers
"You've never lived until you've almost died; as for our freedom, for those of us who have fought for it, life has a flavour the protected will never know." - Anonymous

Offline Yrys

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2008, 01:00:33 »
snags = bangers

Translator says banger = tacot.

So you're speaking of a king of flat breat, right ?
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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2008, 01:22:21 »
The articles fail to place any blame on other factors that have contributed to this problem, like globalization and the increased ownership of food stocks by multinational corporations. 

Not too many decades ago, food was raised by our farmers, then milled and prepared for sale by Canadian-based and owned businesses.  A small percentage were owned by Americans or British interests.  But for the most part, these items were sold in Canada, with a surplus sold at a profit elsewhere.

Now the picture has changed dramatically.  Food producers are increasingly owned by multinational Corporations who have no loyalty to Canada or its people, and who ship the food products to whoever will pay the highest price. 

There are also far fewer farmers today than there used to be.  Farming is hard work and an increasing percentage of our young people have said 'screw farming, I going to live the good life in the city'.  With fewer farmers growing food, and more people in cities looking to buy food, it is inevitable that food prices would eventually start to skyrocket.  The biofuels has merely given a boost to the steam engine already gathering speed downhill...

   

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2008, 01:28:54 »
Translator says banger = tacot.

So you're speaking of a king of flat breat, right ?

Nope, sausages
"You've never lived until you've almost died; as for our freedom, for those of us who have fought for it, life has a flavour the protected will never know." - Anonymous

Offline Booked_Spice

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2008, 01:33:55 »
Quote
There are also far fewer farmers today than there used to be.  Farming is hard work and an increasing percentage of our young people have said 'screw farming, I going to live the good life in the city'.  With fewer farmers growing food, and more people in cities looking to buy food, it is inevitable that food prices would eventually start to skyrocket.  The biofuels has merely given a boost to the steam engine already gathering speed downhill...

The reason it is not because it is hard work. Take a look at cattle prices. The price per pound drops but yet the price in the store sky rockets. The middle man makes the buck. It is very expensive to farm. With rising costs and no return. Most farmers I  know, have to work a job in order to support their familes. They have to sell their land to " comercial buyers" because they no longer can afford their family. Farmers had to switch to crops that will give them a profit. Hence the Biofuels.
I am really trying to see things from your point of view. But I find it really hard to stick my head that far up my butt.

Offline Mr.Newf

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2008, 10:29:30 »
Load Up the Pantry


Quote
I don't want to alarm anybody, but maybe it's time for Americans to start stockpiling food.

No, this is not a drill.

You've seen the TV footage of food riots in parts of the developing world. Yes, they're a long way away from the U.S. But most foodstuffs operate in a global market. When the cost of wheat soars in Asia, it will do the same here.

Reality: Food prices are already rising here much faster than the returns you are likely to get from keeping your money in a bank or money-market fund. And there are very good reasons to believe prices on the shelves are about to start rising a lot faster.

"Load up the pantry," says Manu Daftary, one of Wall Street's top investors and the manager of the Quaker Strategic Growth mutual fund. "I think prices are going higher. People are too complacent. They think it isn't going to happen here. But I don't know how the food companies can absorb higher costs." (Full disclosure: I am an investor in Quaker Strategic)

Stocking up on food may not replace your long-term investments, but it may make a sensible home for some of your shorter-term cash. Do the math. If you keep your standby cash in a money-market fund you'll be lucky to get a 2.5% interest rate. Even the best one-year certificate of deposit you can find is only going to pay you about 4.1%, according to Bankrate.com. And those yields are before tax.

More on link.


Yeah it's American and such, but still a good read.

Also, I have read on some other sites that the U.S. Gov has bought the whole Mountain House stock they recently had come in, and after looking at their site, they have very litte of anything left to sell. Kind of odd, don't ya think?

I'm going to fire off an email to them today, see what they have to say about that.

Baker
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Offline Mr.Newf

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2008, 08:34:06 »
The food crisis begins to bite

Quote
The food crisis begins to bite

Rioting in Haiti. Rationing in America. Queues in Egypt. Protests in Afghanistan. As the price of food continues to soar, the impact is being felt by people around the globe

By Jerome Taylor and Andrew Buncombe
Friday, 25 April 2008


CHINA


The roaring economy and an ever expanding middle class have had a particularly profound effect on food prices, particularly rice and wheat. Because of industrialisation, rice planting fell from 33 million hectares in 1983 to 29 million by 2006 and China now imports more than ever, placing a major strain on international supplies. Despite freezing prices, rampant inflation means the cost of food has risen by 21 per cent this year.

USA

In a land where supposedly the rich are thin and the poor are overweight, one of the largest cash and carry stores, Sam's Club, announced this week it would limit customers to take home a maximum of four bags of rice. The move came a day after Costco Wholesale Corp, the biggest US warehouse-club operator, limited bulk rice purchases in some stores and warned that customers had begun stockpiling certain goods.

NORTH KOREA

Even during times of relative stability, North Korea has shown itself to be inept at feeding its population. During the 1990s a famine caused by poor harvests killed an estimated two to three million people. On Wednesday the World Food Programme warned that the country could again be plunged into famine because of the spiralling cost of rice and there was an estimated shortfall of 1.6 million tons of rice and wheat.

EGYPT

Up to 50 million Egyptians rely on subsidised bread and this year Cairo has estimated it will cost $2.5bn. But with the price of wheat rocketing in the past year there are fears the country has plunged into a "bread crisis". Queues are now double the length they were a year ago. Inflation hit 12.1 per cent in February with prices for dairy goods up 20 per cent and cooking oils 40 per cent

VENEZUELA

Latin American countries were some of the first nations to voice their concern at rising wheat prices, particularly after thousands of people in Mexico took to the streets at the beginning of 2007 to take part in the so-called "Tortilla Protests". This week the presidents of Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba's vice-president flew to Caracas to announce a joint $100m scheme to combat the impact of rising food prices on the region's poor.

BRAZIL

On Wednesday Brazil became the latest major rice producer to temporarily suspend exports because of soaring costs and domestic shortages. In recent weeks Latin American countries and African nations have asked for up to 500,000 tons of rice from Brazil which will now not be delivered. Brazil's agricultural ministry has said it has to ensure that the country has at least enough rice reserves to last the next six to eight months.

IVORY COAST

Some of the worst instability resulting from high food prices has been felt in West Africa. One person was killed and dozens were injured last month as riots tore through Ivory Coast after the prices of meat and wheat increased by 50 per cent within a week. Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo was forced to cut taxes to halt the disorder. Violent protests have also broken out in Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Senegal.

AFGHANISTAN

There have been street protests about the soaring cost of food in a country almost entirely reliant on imports of wheat. Already utterly impoverished, the plight of Afghans has worsened because Pakistan has cut its regular flour supply. The government has sought to assure citizens that there is sufficient food and has set aside $50m for additional imports. The price of wheat has risen by around 60 per cent in the last year.

THAILAND

The price of rice in the world's largest exporter rose to $1,000 a ton yesterday and experts warned that it will continue to rise. This is because of the massive demand from the Philippines which is struggling to secure supplies after India and several other producers halted exports. The government has said it can meet the export requests. Indonesia has said it is withholding purchases for a year because prices are so high.

EAST AFRICA

Hundreds of thousands of poor Africans in Uganda and Sudan are to lose out on a vital source of food after one of the world's largest humanitarian organisations said it was cutting aid to 1.5m people. Dave Toycen, president of World Vision Canada, blamed soaring costs and countries failing to live up to aid commitments for the fact that the number of people the charity can help will fall by almost a quarter.

INDIA

The country as added to the problems facing many countries in the region by halting its export of rice, except for its premium basmati product. This has left countries normally reliant on Indian exports, such as the Philippines, searching for alternative supplies. India has more than half of the world's hungriest people and its priority is to safeguard domestic supply. But it too has watched as the cost of food has soared, not just rice but cooking oil, pulses and even vegetables. India has this year forecast a record grain harvest but experts warned farm productivity will have to rise much faster if the nation is to feed its 1.1bn people and avoid a food security crisis. Around two-thirds of India's population are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods but agriculture is growing much more slowly than the overall economy.

HAITI

The poorest country in the Western hemisphere has seen a three to four-fold increase in the number of so-called boat people trying to leave because of food shortages. Already gripped by wretched poverty, the food crisis triggered riots that led to the death of six people. Haiti's wretched food security situation is a result of "liberalisation measures" forced on the country after former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was returned to power.

THE PHILIPPINES

The government has been desperately trying to secure alternative sources of rice to counteract the decision of a number of nations to halt rice exports. The country's National Food Authority, which handles rice imports for the government, has now said it plans to increase imports 42 per cent to 2.7m tons this year. This could cost $1.3bn if it does not increase the price of the subsidised rice it is selling to people. But the Philippines is responsible for producing 85 per cent of its own food and international experts believe the country will handle this crisis. The government has also been encouraging consumers and even fast food restaurants to be more frugal and be careful not to waste food. The government is confident it will be able to source sufficient supplies from Vietnam and Thailand.

EUROPE

Less vulnerable to food price fluctuations than emerging nations, but food prices across Europe have nonetheless increased. In Britain wholesale prices of food have increased by 7.4 per cent over the past 12 months, roughly three times the headline rate of inflation. According to the government's own statistics grocery bills have gone up by an average of £750 over the same period, the equivalent of a 12 per cent rise.


Intresting, to say the least.
Baker
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Offline Greymatters

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2008, 16:25:34 »
It is amazing how all these past few decades the greatest fear was a nuclear exchange.  Now we are tottering on the edge of the anarchy due to a worldwide inflation in food prices...

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2008, 22:30:11 »
How about a made in Canada crisis?

http://stevejanke.com/archives/261260.php?utm_medium=RSS

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Stephane Dion: Higher taxes make Canadian food more appealing

Maybe there is a subtlety to the economic principles involved that I'm not getting.  But according to Stephane Dion, if I force a Canadian farmer to pay more in taxes, he'll be selling more produce than a foreign farmer who pays none of those taxes.

Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion is a visionary.  That is to say, he sees visions.  Well, to put it more bluntly, he's seeing things.  He thinks a tax on Canadian carbon emissions will make Canadian produce more cost competitive:

    Putting a price on carbon emissions will lead to a more restrained use of oil, gas and coal and even help stock the shelves of Canadian supermarkets with goods produced by local farmers, says federal Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion. He was in Peterborough April 24 visiting Trent University’s Water Quality Centre and holding a town hall meeting at RE* on George Street.

Why don't supermarkets stock shelves with local grown foods already?  Why cut into the profit margins by importing food from the US or South America when the food was always right here?

If the food is just around the corner, then why not put that on the shelves?

Clearly one of two reasons:

   1. The food is not around the corner.
   2. The food is not cheaper.


Of course, not every food on the shelf can even be grown locally.  This is, quite literally, an apples and oranges comparison.  We don't grow oranges in Canada -- the climate is not suited for it.

So take oranges, and point (1), off the table.   Consider only apples, and point (2).

Why import apples?  Well, first off, plenty of Ontario produce (apples included) is already on the shelves.  We don't need to tax carbon emissions to make that happen.

But would a tax on carbon emissions put more Canadian products on the shelves?

First off, if a food is seasonal, it will be available when it's available, and no tax can change that.  We import food in large part to keep shelves stocked during the local off season.  Apples from South America might be more expensive because of Stephane Dion's tax increase, but that won't make Ontario apple trees blossom in the middle of the winter.  Or any other fruit tree, for that matter.

And second, just how much can Stephane Dion expect his tax to affect the cost of a South American apple?  It is grown and picked on a farm in South America, sorted and trucked to a ship, and brought to port in Halifax.  At that point, it is put on a Canadian truck and brought to the market.

So the last leg of the journey will cost more because of Stephane Dion's tax on the carbon emissions made by the Canadian truck driver. But the total cost of the apple includes the cost of the farming and fertilizing and picking and sorting and shipping that happened prior to its arriving in Canada.

Somehow, I can't see how Stephane Dion's tax can affect that.  I suppose Stephane Dion's Liberals could calculated the carbon footprint of that process, and slap an equivalent carbon tariff on the products at the point it is imported, but I doubt that would be legal.

At the end of the day, Stephane Dion's carbon tax could only apply to Canadians.

When you think about it, it is likely to make Canadian foods more expensive!

The Canadian farmer pays for Stephane Dion's carbon tax on the fuel he buys for his tractor, on the carbon footprint associated with the fertilizer, for the wages he pays to his workers who drive to the farm and so now want to be paid more to afford the cost of gas, and so on and so forth.

The South American farmer pays none of those costs.  Sure the South American product has to be shipped, but I'm sure shipping magnates like former Liberal leader Paul Martin know how to keep those costs under control even as fuel costs rise.  The first thing Martin has to do to make sure that ships are not registered in Canada, so that Stephane Dion's carbon tax can't be applied.  Oh wait, the international fleet of Paul Martin's Canadian Steamship Lines were all re-flagged through the 1990s, thus ensuring that Stephane Dion's hoped-for carbon tax will be paid by other Canadians, and not directly affect Paul Martin's profits.

Rising fuel costs will make imported food more expensive.  Rising fuel costs will also make locally grown foods more expensive, but it is possible that with less distance to market, local foods could be more competitive (which only matters if the competition is head-to-head, and that only happen when the growing seasons coincide).  Put a carbon tax just on Canadian fuel consumption, though, and you're just as likely to have erased any price advantage Canadian farmers had when competing for shelf-space in a Canadian supermarket.

Food will cost more.  Less will be sold as Canadians make do with less as Stephane Dion's  carbon tax increases the price of everything.  Farmers will pay more to run their operations, and sell less of their more expensive product to Canadians struggling with less money to spend on food.

Stephane Dion for a hungrier, poorer Canada!
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Greymatters

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Re: The cost of food: facts and figures - BBC
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2008, 11:44:45 »
Good article!


(He) is a visionary.  That is to say, he sees visions.  Well, to put it more bluntly, he's seeing things. 

And that's a brilliant phrasing of words...