Showing posts tagged food supply

Perspective on the Global Food Crisis

Until we fix this

And this…

and no more people have to deal with THIS..

I don’t want to hear any more of this…

Or this…

The United Nations says it expects famine to spread to all regions of southern Somalia within the coming weeks.  This grim assessment comes barely two weeks after the United Nations officially declared famine in two regions of southern Somalia amid the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years.

Read more about the famine in Somalia and spend your protesting efforts fixing problems that affect humans.


Pattern Recognition - Food Crisis News - June 22, 2011

It’s been a month or so since I did an environmental scan on food prices, shortages, and commodities.  Let’s see if anything has changed.

Ummm, nope.

Food Prices will remain high

Agencies See Decade of High Food Prices- June 17, 2011

LONDON—Food prices will be up to 30% higher on average over the next decade as slowing grains production fails to keep pace with rising demand, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Friday.

High Food Prices Here To Stay - June 17, 2011

The report predicts that prices will be 20 percent higher for cereals and up to 30 percent higher for meat in the coming decade compared to the past ten years.

It will specifically hit poor people who now already spend up to 80 percent of their income on food. “People are going be forced, either to literally eat less, or find other sources of income,” Gurria said.

Record prices linked to bio-fuels…yet again - June 17, 2011

The biofuels industry is being blamed for record food prices and high price volatility. Earlier this month a report from the World Trade Organization and other international agencies recommended that governments cut support for biofuels to ease that volatility. On the heels of that report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its corn forecast; it suggested that corn supplies will be very tight this year because bad weather has limited planting and because the share of corn going to ethanol is increasing. After the report, corn prices shot to record highs, reaching $8 a bushel. Then on Friday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released a report predicting that food prices will remain high for the next decade.

Many experts say the unprecedented prices are at least partially driven by government subsidies and mandates that have led to fourfold increases in production of ethanol biofuel and tenfold increases in production of biodiesel between 2000 and 2009 worldwide.

Governments scramble for solutions

Volatile Food Prices Grab G-20’s Full Attention - June 22, 2011

David Nabarro, a food security expert with the United Nations, says that for decades governments thought they didn’t have to worry about agriculture, because prices stayed even or dropped. But 2008 changed all that.

"Food became an issue that was of central political importance to presidents [and] heads of governments," Nabarro says. "In addition, we found that food production systems were getting intertwined with environmental issues and climate change. So food and agriculture has now become a big political issue."

Food Reserves Could Come Back Into Vogue- June 16, 2011

Facing increasing hunger, market unpredictability, and food price volatility, world leaders have shown interest to resuming the practice of food stores.

At the G-20 meeting last month in Rome, leaders discussed developing an emergency reserve system, aimed at servicing the most vulnerable countries.

Uganda struggles with plans to reduce inflation and food shortage - June 16, 2011

IMPLEMENTATION of the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Agriculture Sector Investment Plan will not solve food shortage, low income and inflation. To deal with inflation, you need to stabilise agricultural supply and control food prices.

Studies on Uganda’s food supply predict a food deficit by 2030. Countries that experience food insecurity experience high levels of poverty.

U.S. Agency for International Development hosts 300 researchers for “Feed the Future” forum - June 22, 2011

Is this a food crisis? Are we in a crisis?

SHAH (Administrator of USAID): It’s absolutely a precarious situation. We know that food security is critical to our national security, and I will build on David’s point and suggest that the food riots and famines and failed states that are the consequences of a lack of access to food are far more costly and problematic to deal with over time than making smart targeted investments and helping countries develop their agricultural systems, become real trading partners and move big huge proportions of their population out of a condition of poverty and hunger.

Climate Change continues to wreak havoc with crop production

China food prices spike as floods ruin farmland - June 20, 2011

(Reuters) - Torrential rain across southern and eastern China which has killed more than 100 people and triggered the evacuation of half a million has left large areas of farmland devastated as food prices surge, state media said on Sunday.

KENYA: Severe drought, high food prices hit pastoralists - June 16, 2011

NAIROBI, (IRIN) - Successive poor rains coupled with rising food and fuel prices are leading to a worsening food security situation with alarming levels of acute malnutrition being recorded in drought affected parts of Kenya, mainly in the north of the country, say experts.

Extreme weather moves on to agenda at the 21st World Conference on Disaster Management (WCDM)- June 17, 2011

the 21st World Conference on Disaster Management (WCDM), to be held in Toronto Sunday, June 19, through Wednesday.

Nearly 1,500 government officials, scientists and businesspeople from 40 different countries will participate.

Top of mind will be the expected world food crisis that all this extreme weather is already causing, driving harvests down and prices up to record levels.

“When the major networks become weather networks, and when other news becomes sort of secondary, we are facing disaster,” says Lester Brown, founder and president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, who will be the WCDM’s opening speaker. “When you have a lot of local disasters, droughts and floods and heat waves as we’re now having, reducing the food supply, then you have a global disaster.”

Extreme Circumstances require Extreme Measures?

Long held rumors of North Korean cannibalism sparked by food shortages appear to have been confirmed:

Leaked North Korean files reveal citizens selling human flesh for food -  June 19, 2011

Notably, five cases related to cannibalism were also included in the manual. Stories about starving North Koreans eating human flesh have been considered rumors, but recent discoveries in the manual may prove otherwise, triggering more speculations about the food shortage crisis in North Korea.

One case involved a guard named Lee Man-sung, who killed his roommate with an axe when he was sleeping, ate part of the corpse and then sold the rest on the market describing it as lamb meat.

But WAIT, there’s good news. Corporate funded Japanese scientists may have found a solution. 

Let’s feed them “shit burgers”. There’s never any shortage of feces right?

Japan scientist synthesizes meat from human feces - June 15, 2011

Japanese scientists have actually discovered a way to create edible steaks from human feces.

Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, has developed steaks based on proteins from human excrement. Tokyo Sewage approached the scientist because of an overabundance of sewage mud. They asked him to explore the possible uses of the sewage and Ikeda found that the mud contained a great deal of protein because of all the bacteria.

The researchers then extracted those proteins, combined them with a reaction enhancer and put it in an exploder which created the artificial steak. The “meat” is 63% proteins, 25% carbohydrates, 3% lipids and 9% minerals. The researchers color the poop meat red with food coloring and enhance the flavor with soy protein. Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef.

That’s it folks. North Koreans are resorting to eating each other and “Big Sewage” seriously wants to feed us our own shit. Mission accomplished.


Europe in worst drought for a century

Prayers in Europe this Easter holiday weekend are as likely to call for rain as anything else — with serious fears over the wheat harvest, its impact on already sky-high global food prices and, of course, devastating brush fires.

This year threatens to bring “one of the most significant droughts since 1864,” the year when records began in Switzerland, said Olivier Duding, a climatologist from Swiss weather service Meteosuisse.

The drought in western Switzerland over the last 12 months is as severe as those recorded in 1884 and 1921, Meteosuisse said.

While the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic states of northeastern Europe are not reporting drought, the British Met Office warns it has been “incredibly dry in many parts in March and April.”

Rainfall is at 40 percent of normal levels, and England and Wales had the driest March in more than a century. Beware the ides, as they say.

Soon, if the hot, dry spell continues, water use restrictions will be forced on residents and companies there.

Six out of 10 French reservoirs are holding water levels far below what is normal, meaning similar irrigation controls are likely there.

March was already extremely volatile for grains, largely due to growing economic uncertainties and the turmoil in North Africa and parts of the Near East — as well as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the Food and Agriculture Organization said after logging a first, slight drop in raw food prices for eight months.

Prices hit record highs at the beginning of the year, and while the main focus for specialist traders is in the United States, a deteriorating drought in Europe could yet spark deep concern.  Source


Food Crisis continues in light of growing populations and supply deficit

I honestly can’t summarize all of the news about the global food crisis effectively. I could easily do a daily massive link dump and not fully capture the stories of hunger and food shortages worldwide. Before you argue that hunger has always been a problem, let me tell you that it has gotten worse. Much worse.

Australia has been hit especially hard as a result of the massive flooding which had a huge impact on it’s crop production and exports of wheat and sugar. 

FOOD security will be the greatest challenge to civilisation this century, with shortages leading to higher prices, political instability and mass migration, warn scientists, farmers and academics.

A policy summit in Melbourne this week will be told that that while Australian farms are capable of feeding the nation until it more than doubles in population, agricultural productivity is in decline and the effects of a looming food crisis overseas are already being felt in rising grocery costs.

Sharp rises in food prices in 2008 and 2010 demonstrated that supplies were no longer keeping up with demand, said Julian Cribb, author of The Coming Famine, who will address the summit on food challenges.

But the ramifications of the problem were even starker overseas. The governments of Tunisia and Egypt had fallen as a result of riots propelled by food protests.

Those type of upheavals would inevitably affect Australia through increased immigration and regional instability unless it invested in research and innovation to increase global food production.

Read the full article at Sydney Morning Herald

But this is not just an Australian problem. It will affect us all.

According to the United Nations, the world’s population is expected to grow 35 percent in the next 40 years. The global population is increasing by 210,000 people per day, and is expected to stabilize at 9 billion people by that year. That’s an increase of 2.5 billion people, or, the equivalent of another two Chinas.

It isn’t over. The UN food agency recently announced that a drought was threatening the wheat crop in China, the world’s largest wheat producer. In addition, droughts in Russia, Ukraine and other parts of Europe, coupled with bad weather in the United States, Canada and Australia are ransacking global grain inventories. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture already expects the world supply of grain to decrease by 2.2 percent this year.

Read more at the News Messenger

Meanwhile, in America, statistics show that hunger, which is now referred to as “food insecurity”, affects even the wealthy now:

Between 7 and 13 percent of people in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.’s, wealthiest suburbs are unsure where they will get their next meal, according to a national report that has surprised some nonprofit groups that feed the hungry.

“This data is eye-opening for us, because it not only tells us where people in need of our services are, but it paints a totally different demographic picture of who it was we thought who we were serving,” said Deborah Flateman, CEO of the Maryland Food Bank, who is also on the board of Feeding America. “We might really need to look at the suburbs.”

A total of 651,370 people, or 11.6 percent of Maryland’s population, is “food insecure,” a term Feeding America researchers give to those who have limited access to nutritious foods.

Read the full story

Stay tuned, the next decade is going to be an interesting one.


Corn soars to post-2008 food crisis highs

Corn futures continue to sell high, the highest since the 2008 peak.

U.S. corn prices surged 6.5 per cent on Friday to their highest levels since the food crisis of 2008, setting the stage for record global food prices – which have sparked social unrest – to push even higher.

Futures, which rose 4.5 per cent on Thursday, were fuelled by strong demand for corn to make food and fuel. That demand has whittled down the corn supply, which was already at its lowest level in 15 years in the United States, the world’s top exporter of the grain.

Read the rest here at Reuters


Posted at 10:35pm
Tagged food crisis food supply food shortage inflation


They’re everywhere! Massive Insect Plagues & Infestations - March 2011 Round-up

I’ve been interested since January in mass animal, fish, and insect events. There were some really big ones that caught the world’s attention and now I follow them regularly. I do not believe they are plagues sent by God or signs of the Apocalypse. I DO believe that they are indicative of climate change or other impacts we are having on the environment.

The massive flooding and droughts going on for the past 6 months all over the planet has already contributed to the food crisis by cutting supply in some places and increasing demand in others. Australia was particularly hit with floods and their crops have suffered greatly. Now, crops all over the world face the threat of plagues of insects and vermin. 

Changes in weather, habitats, food chains, etc cause changes in the patterns of behavior of the other living things that inhabit our planet. To think that we are not affecting the natural cycles of our planet, to me, seems ridiculous.

Whatever the cause, there have been a lot of these mass infestations lately.  Here are some of the bigger ones.

Stink bugs plague Baltimore homes and farms  - March 21, 2011 - Source Source 2

The concern is particularly high for fruit trees, as well as tomato plants.

It seems no Maryland congressman is more bugged by the problem than Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.He is pushing for, among other things, an emergency exemption by the Environmental Protection Agency so Maryland farmers can spray a stink bug pesticide.”You’ve really got to be in panic mode,” he said. “This could be a plague of truly biblical proportions.”

Bartlett organized a meeting last week that included experts from the U.S. Agriculture Department and Virginia Tech University. The meeting was held in Emmitsburg.

Stink Bug Epidemic - now in 33 states - danger to crops - March 31st, 2011 - Source

A stink bug epidemic is on the rise here in the United States. It has been confirmed that the brown marmorated stink bug has now been found in 33 states in America, compared to only being found in 25 states as of last fall.

The real threat that these insects pose is the fact that they eat your vegetables and fruits, and can swarm in the thousands. According to the DailyMail, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has spent $10 million trying to find a way to exterminate them but has so far been unsuccessful.

This could create a huge loss for not only family gardens, but larger fields of crops as well. The economy is bad enough as it is right now. The price of gas and foods in the United States has risen, as well as the unemployment rates. The last thing one needs is additional losses.

Beetles swarm QLD Gold Coast QLD Australia

Thousands of water-beetles in Bundaberg Australia - March 25th, 2011 - Source

IN the past week Bundaberg has looked like a scene straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, with thousands of beetles plaguing brightly lit areas after sundown.

The swarm of beetles, some more than 5cm long, are coming out at night and showing no mercy as they latch on to buildings, cars and anything that looks like a good habitat.

Thousands of water-beetles invade Brisbane Australia (375KM from Bundaberg) - April 1st, 2011 - Source

Brisbane has been infiltrated by diving beetles in the wake of the floods, but most of the bugs seen in the city are either dead or dying.

Thousands of the critters, which look similar to cockroaches, have been spotted across southeast Queensland, including in the Brisbane CBD, on the Goodwill Bridge and at the Gabba.

They’re obviously on the move. They’re in unusual numbers – that is the difference. This is not an enquiry we get every year and we think it’s because of the floods.

Millions of crickets infest Victoria Australia - hospital cancels operations - March 8, 2011 - Source

The local health manager Antje Badger says the crickets have been building up for weeks.

"There are a lot in the operating theatre," she said.

"But it’s around the whole hospital. At the front of the hospital, in the emergency department, they’re just eveverywhere.

"They’re on the roads, in peoples homes, so I’m not sure how many are in the theatre but there are quite a number," said Ms Badger.

Broken Hill Australia (1500KM from Brisbane) plagued with crickets and mice- March 17th, 2011 - Source Source 2 Source 3

News Limited journalist Jack Marx has reported from Broken Hill that; “There’s a deathly stench in the wind that blows down the main street of Broken Hill, though nobody is sure if it’s the insects or vermin. It’s probably both.”

Marx also regales his readers with a yarn from an anonymous local, reporting;

"One local girl, a tough, pretty 30-something with guns, dogs and something of a bunker mentality, believes the biblical infestations are part of a larger apocalypse, the earthquakes, tsunamis and plagues all related to a doomsday foretold long ago".

They came in their millions about a month ago, an army of crickets and an ocean of mice, teeming into the town, into houses and shops and down into the mines.

One theory has it that the floods up north have pursued the critters to the lower half of the continent. Another says that the phenomenal rains – a year’s worth in just the last few months – have turned the red earth unusually green with foliage, the mice and crickets rutting furiously in the knowledge that their offspring will have an abundance to eat.

Tweed New South Wales Australia (130KM from Brisbane) plagued with water beetles - March 26th, 2011 - Source

“I was fishing the other morning in Cudgen Creek and there were all these flying insects diving into the salt water,” Mr Jenkins said.

“The bream were trying to catch them; I’ve never seen anything like it in my whole life.”

Mr Jenkins identified the bugs as water beetles and said they were normally only seen in fresh water.

“There are millions of them at South Tweed too,” he said. “I’ve never seen them in such large quantities. A swarm that size is phenomenal. It’s very unusual.”

Mice, locusts, mosquitoes, and other insects in plague numbers in Riverina section of New South Wales - March 23, 2011 - Source

MICE are on the march in Wagga and in plague proportions in Hay and Griffith where they are invading homes, businesses, schools and hospitals.

Farmhouses in the Wagga area and homes on the city’s outskirts bordering open land are battling against mice now.

The mice are hard on the heels of the locust plague, massive mosquito infestation and other insect attacks over recent months.

On Wagga’s outskirts, mice are so prolific some residents are setting mouse traps during one television ad break and emptying them during the next break.

Mice are a huge problem in Hay, where residents are trapping as many as 20 mice a night and the smell of dead rodents is filling businesses and public buildings.

Spur-throated Locusts move out of Australian breeding grounds in large numbers - March 28th, 2011 - Source

Spur-throated locusts have been found in a trial patch of sorghum near Tungamah, one of two sites in Victoria where the larger, more voracious pest has been found to have hatched.

Usually confined to Queensland and parts of NSW, the spurthroated locust is breeding and swarming across a much larger area because of ideal conditions.

Victorian plague locust commissioner Gordon Berg said the pest had also been found in the Sunraysia area around Mildura, where they had stripped citrus trees.

The Tungamah and Mildura populations included nymphs that would have hatched locally, Mr Berg said.

We have never known of them to be in breeding populations in Victoria before.

Adult spur-throated locusts can drift as far south as Melbourne in small numbers, but egglaying and hatching has never been recorded in Victoria.

Water-beetles invade Sunshine coast in British Columbia (Vancouver) - March 26, 2011 - Source

Amalgamated Pest Control zone supervisor controlled Chris Ryan said “Other than being an eyesore and having a bit of a strong smell, they’re actually beneficial to us.”

“With the heavy rain we’ve had recently, it’s created new waterways and ponds so they’re reproducing in record numbers,” he said.

This number of them is virtually unseen for as long as anyone can remember – they are definitely in plague proportions.”

Mosquitoes (Midges) plague warning for Scotland - March 08, 2011 - Source Source 2

THIS year’s midge invasion is set to be 800 times worse than normal following the heavy winter snowfalls.Experts say the many feet of snow that covered much of Scotland for weeks acted as an insulating layer for midge larvae.

Instead of being killed off by the million as a result of ground frost, the insects were kept alive in record numbers by a protective blanket of snow.

Spiders fleeing floods in Pakistan invest trees by the thousands - March 28th, 2011 - Source

Millions of spiders have crawled into trees in Pakistan to escape flood waters, shrouding them with their silky webs.

The eye-catching phenomenon is an unexpected side-effect of last year’s flooding which claimed the lives of almost 2,000 people. 

However, since the monsoon weather devastated the nation last July, much of the water has still not yet receded.

The tiny arachnids have sought refuge amongst the trees weaving beautifully intricate webs between the leaves.

Hairy moth plague in Venezuela closes 167 schools; causes stinging and allergies - March 31, 2011 - Source

Caracas, Mar 31 (Prensa Latina) Some 13 municipalities in the Venezuelan state of Sucre are affected by the invasion of butterfly known as hairy Palometa whose hairs cause itching.

  In this region, since last Monday, classes were suspended in early childhood education schools, secondary and technical high school by the large number of children involved in the skin, the press note today.

In order to restart the school year on Thursday, in 167 schools were conducted cleanups and fumigation.

Processionary Pine Caterpillars plague Costa Blanca in Spain; danger to pets & children - March 10, 2011 - Source

Nick, of Cheap Tyres, La Nucia, said he first learnt of the threat the caterpillars posed when a customer told him of the fate of her dog. “It survived but the vet had to chop about half its tongue away.”

He said the insects were “absolutely everywhere” on the land near his home and although the area was cleared of some nests earlier this week, others remained on higher branches.

Last year was nothing like this, just a nest here and there in the trees. This season has seen some absolutely huge nests – the size of footballs,” said Nick.

13 year Cicadas set to hatch this year in Middle Tennessee - March 23, 2011 - Source

Brood XIX of the 13-year cicadas had a spectacular emergence in Middle Tennessee in 1998, so this is their year to emerge again, probably in May, when the temperature of the soil four inches below the surface reaches 67 degrees.

Mahalapye East in South Africa plagued by ants; children refuse to go outside - April 1st, 2011 - Source

MAHALAPYE EAST: The people of Xhosa 1 in Mahalapye have called on the government to rescue them from a visitation of ants that have wrought anguish upon their daily lives.

The ants are particularly active along the river in Mahalapye East, where their numbers swell when the sun breaks out after it has been raining. People here say they have been subjected to this torture for the past two years.

"The ants have forced a change in the people’s way of life here," says Tefo Makake, who is here visiting. "As you know, children naturally like frolicking outside.

"Not any more here; they have resorted to indoor games and watching television all day long. 

Millions of Caterpillars plague East Java, Indonesia - March 2011 - Source 

Caterpillars attack in Probolinggo, East Java, Indonesia is increasingly widespread. If previously only in two districts, now spread to one other district. Earlier rain of caterpillars occurs only in 11 villages in two namely Leces and Tegal Siwalan.

Now, the caterpillar pest had spread to the village of Kedung Lo, District Bantaran. Efforts Agriculture Probolinggo spraying since last Monday, still has not produced results. Tens of thousands of caterpillars has been very concerned citizen. Not only suffer from itching, the activity becomes disturbed people because of their time taken to clean the house and the plants that were attacked this brown caterpillar.

If traveling, residents in the village were forced to use an umbrella kedawung Source for fear of caterpillars falling from trees. Most caterpillars attack the mango trees owned by citizens so that leaves the caterpillar eaten. Not yet able to predict how much material loss due to attack the first time in this Probolinggo.

Probolinggo District Agricultural Office said based on the examination, caterpillars that attack people desgiria inclusa manifold. This type is quite fast grown caterpillar. Efforts to prevent proliferation can only be through spraying with insecticides. Officers to this day still do spraying into the trees. In addition, residents are also given the drug crop. The caterpillar will die if they eat the leaves.

To read more about mass fish kills and whale strandings and dramatic earth changes check out my other Round-ups:


Now is the time to profit from Hunger

I’m not going to act like I’m a Pollyanna who thinks that the ideal world will ever be anything close to reality, but here’s what the financial analysts are saying about the global food crisis and rising food costs - “Time to make some money”. 

IndexIQ Chief Executive Adam Patti  said CROP will provide exposure to global small-capitalization companies engaged in the growing agribusiness sector. Because it is an ETF, Patti said, CROP will give investors “a highly liquid, highly transparent, low cost, tax efficient” way to gain exposure to agribusiness’ growing demand for food crops and shrinking supply of them.

“Global supply shortages, changing dietary demands in emerging markets, growing populations and alternative energy production are among the many powerful factors driving global demand and skyrocketing prices for agribusiness products. We believe these trends are likely to persist for the foreseeable future,” Patti said in a statement.

The CROP ETF arrives at an unprecedented time in food history: prices recently soared 3.9% in February, the biggest monthly gain since November 1974, marking the continuation of a trend that many economists expect to hold true for at least the remainder of the year. Meat and dairy prices have been on the rise, reflecting higher prices for the corn and soybeans used in animal feed. Earlier this month, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said that world food prices have risen to the highest point since 1990, when the agency first began its food price tracking efforts.

Back in January, legendary investor Jim Rogers confirmed to CNBC that with food shortages coming, now is the time to buy into the food commodities market. As of today, Bloomberg was reporting that Texas was seeing its worst drought in 44 years, with the state’s wheat crop damaged as a result and ranchers forced to reduce cattle herds—a sure sign that food prices will continue to rise.

“In our view, small capitalization companies are best positioned to translate this demand into significant growth,” Patti said. “They are under-represented in other investment options, are typically faster growing and, in many cases, are undervalued relative to mega-cap multi-national companies, making them attractively positioned for growth and for acquisitions by the larger global players. We believe CROP is an efficient vehicle for gaining exposure to this dynamic sector and to these companies worldwide.”


Posted at 9:47pm
Tagged food prices food supply food shortage