is here and it’s here to stay. We can see it getting worse every
time we buy groceries. Basic food commodities like wheat, corn,
soybeans, and rice have been skyrocketing since July, 2010 to record
highs. These sustained price increases are only expected to
continue as food production shortfalls really begin to take their
toll this year and beyond.
Russia banned exports of wheat to ensure their nation’s supply,
which sparked complaints of protectionism. The U.S. agriculture
community is already talking about rationing
corn over ethanol mandates versus supply concerns. We’ve seen
nothing yet in terms of food protectionism.
shortages have forced emergency meetings at the U.N. Food and Agriculture
Organization where they claim “urgent action” is needed. They point
to extreme weather as the main contributing factor to the growing
food shortages. However, commodity
speculation has also been targeted as one of the culprits.
It seems that
the crisis would also present the perfect opportunity and the justification
for the large GMO food companies to force their products into skeptical
markets like in Europe
and Japan, as recently leaked cables suggest. One thing is for
sure; food shortages will likely continue to get worse and eventually
become a full-scale global food crisis.
Here are seven
reasons why food shortages are here to stay on a worldwide scale:
Weather: Extreme weather has been a major problem for global
food; from summer droughts and heat waves that devastated Russia’s
wheat crop to the ongoing catastrophes from ‘biblical flooding’
in Australia and Pakistan. And it doesn’t end there. An extreme
winter cold snap and snow has struck the whole of Europe and
the United States. Staple crops are failing in all of these regions
making an already fragile harvest in 2010 even more critical into
2011. Based on the recent past, extreme weather conditions are only
likely to continue and perhaps worsen in the coming years.
2. Bee Colony
Collapse: The Guardian
reported this week on the USDA’s
study on bee colony decline in the United States: “The abundance
of four common species of bumblebee in the US has dropped by 96%
in just the past few decades.” It is generally understood that bees
pollinate around 90% of the world’s commercial crops. Obviously,
if these numbers are remotely close to accurate, then our natural
food supply is in serious trouble. Luckily for us, the GMO giants
have seeds that don’t
require open pollination to bear fruit.
Dollar: Commodity speculation has resulted in massive food inflation
that is already creating
crisis levels in poor regions in the world. Food commodity prices
have soared to record highs mainly because they trade in the ever-weakening
dollar. Traders will point to the circumstances described in this
article to justify their gambles, but also that food represents
a tangible investment in an era of worthless paper. Because the
debt problems in the United States are only getting worse, and nations
such as China and Russia are dropping
the dollar as their trade vehicle, the dollar will continue
to weaken, further driving all commodity prices higher.