Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Food and fuel increases will destabilize your world...wake up....

Era of cheap food ends as prices surge[t]
Food and food increases will destabilize your world.....wake up![trb]
GOOD MORNING FLINT! BY Terry Bankert 4/22/08
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Full article at http://goodmorningflint.blogspot.com/
Flint Talk , summary,

We get the impression that very few people in Jamaica are aware of, or care about the fact that the world is in the throes of a food crisis that has the potential to plunge millions of people into extreme poverty.[j]

SOME SPEND HALF THEIR INCOME ON FOOD"Food price rises pose a significant threat to poor people in developing countries, many of whom spend more than half their income on food already and will face hunger and even starvation unless we act now," said Phil Bloomer, British charity Oxfam's director of policy.[A]Families have been warned that the prices of basic foods will rise steeply again because of acute shortages in commodity markets. [t]COST BENEFITS

ANALYSIS WILL BALANCE NEW FUEL SOURCES AGAINST FOOD!Those battling global warming by promoting biofuels may unintentionally be adding to skyrocketing world food prices, creating what one expert calls "a silent tsunami" in developing nations.[C]

In a strange sense, that is understandable, as humans tend to focus on their individual circumstances in times of adversity, ignoring the broader picture and its ripple effect.[j]

RICE,WHEAT & VEGETABLE OIL PRICES UP AND RIOTS UPExperts told The Times yesterday that prices of rice, wheat and vegetable oil would rise further. They also forecast that high prices and shortages — which have caused riots in developing countries such as Bangladesh and Haiti — were here to stay, and that the days of cheap produce would not return. Food-price inflation has already pushed up a typical family’s weekly shopping bill by 15 per cent in a year. [t]

BUTTER UP 62%A further 15 per cent increase in the price of a standard Kingsmill loaf would push it up from £1.09 to to £1.24. Butter has gone up by 62 per cent in the past year. A similar rise would bring the price of a 250g pack to £1.52. [t]

RICE TRIPLED IN A YEAR WILL STARVATION TRIPLE?The price of rice, which has almost tripled in a year, rose 2 per cent on the Chicago Board of Trade yesterday as the United Nations food agency gave warning that millions faced starvation because aid agencies were unable to meet the additional financial burden. [t]

IS SCALING BACK BIOFUEL THE ANSWERGordon Brown responded to mounting concerns about the global rise in food prices by signaling that he might scale back Britain’s commitment to biofuels, which critics say has exacerbated the food crisis because land has been given over to grow crops for energy rather than food. [t]

FUEL FROM FOOD. Producing fuel from plant crops is supposed to be greener than drilling for oil, and biofuels generally burn cleaner, too. But the global biofuels industry now stands accused of a list of side effects that are said to be damaging lives, especially of the world's poorest people.[C]

WHEAT PRICES DOUBLED IN A YEAR, CORN OIL TRIPLEDJohn Bason, finance director of Associated British Foods, one of Britain’s biggest food producers, said that wheat prices had doubled in a year and supermarkets would have to raise the price of bread again. Vegetable oil was also likely to soar in price because the price of corn oil in the US had almost tripled, he said.[t]EGGS UP ALSOPoor harvests and fierce competition for food supplies has already meant the price of eggs, rice, bread and pasta in supermarkets has rocketed. [t]MySupermarket.co.uk said that eggs from free-range poultry in Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s were 47 per cent more expensive than a year ago; basmati rice was up 61 per cent and fusilli pasta 81 per cent. [t]

However, the cold, hard fact is that rising fuel costs, coupled with the impact of biofuels on agriculture have created a crisis of the kind not seen since World War II.[j]

The upshot has been deadly protests in Haiti, sections of Africa and Asia. At least one government official, Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis of Haiti, has lost his job.[j]
Famine traditionally means mass starvation. The measures of today's crisis are misery and malnutrition. The middle classes are giving up health care and cutting out meat so they can eat three meals a day.[s]

BRITAIN SAYS IT MUST BE MORE SELECTIVE ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVESAt a meeting at Downing Street yesterday, Mr Brown asked farmers, supermarkets and consumer groups to agree steps to rein in rising food costs. He said that Britain must become "more selective" in how it supported environmental initiatives to counter climate change. [t]"If our UK review shows that we need to change our approach, we will also push for change in EU biofuels targets," he wrote on Downing Street’s website. [t]Britain is now likely to press the European Union to recast its target for 10 per cent of transport fuels to be supplied from biofuels by 2020. [t]

FOLLOW THE MONEYThe drive for more biofuels means more investment is going into those crops, meaning less land and less investment going in for food crops, causing a massive conflict and resulting in rising prices, which is having a huge negative impact, especially on developing
countries," said Clare Oxborrow, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth.[C]

DOES THE US HAVE A TARGETDowning Street sources said that ministers would press for any such target to be introduced in a more "sustainable" way and that Britain would not go beyond its own target for 5 per cent of fuels to come from biofuels by 2010. Rising food costs will pile the pressure on Mr Brown, coming after double-digit increases in household fuel bills earlier this year and the continuing row over tax increases for millions of low-paid workers. [t]

OIL COSTS AND POPULATION SOARING- Yesterday’s meeting on food prices also focused on the impact on developing countries of global increases in food costs, driven by higher production costs as oil prices soar and increased demand due to population growth. [t]The Department for International Development announced that it would allocate £400 million over five years to research into hardier and higher-yielding crops. It also promised £30 million to the World Food Programme for countries where the risk of hunger is greatest, plus £25 million in aid for Ethiopia alone. [t]The Government will meet consumer groups to discuss how households are coping with higher prices. Jonathan Shaw, the Rural Affairs Minister, will host the meeting next Thursday as part of a study into the impact of the higher household bills on the poorest, most vulnerable groups in society.[t]Opposition parties accused Mr Brown of making the squeeze on families worse.[t]

FAMILIES ARE BEING HIT HARD...WILL YOURS BE NEXT?The cost of food, we are told, has increased by around 40 per cent worldwide,...[J]
The middling poor, those on $2 a day, are pulling children from school and cutting back on vegetables so they can afford rice. Those on $1 a day are cutting back on meat, vegetables and one or two meals, so they can afford one bowl. Those on 50 cents a day face disaster.[s]
Roughly a billion people live on $1 a day. If, on a conservative estimate, the cost of their food rises 20 percent (and in some places, it has risen a lot more), 100 million people could be forced back to this level, the common measure of absolute poverty. In some countries, that would undo all the gains in poverty reduction made in the past decade of growth.[s]

Philip Hammond, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: "At a time when families are facing soaring food, fuel and mortgage bills, Gordon Brown’s response is to clobber them with higher taxes." [t]Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats’ Treasury spokesman, said: "Rising food bills will hit families already struggling to keep their heads above water following big rises to many utility bills. [t]

WHAT WILL NEXT YEAR LOOK LIKE. Gas $6.00 a gallon, food pantries bare, home lost to foreclosure, world wide riots?[trb]
It is certainly a storm that has hit with little warning and has plunged an extra 100 million people into poverty. [b]The crisis has triggered riots in Haiti, Cameroon, Indonesia and Egypt and is deemed a dangerous threat to stability. [b]It is not so much famine that is the worry, it is widespread misery and malnutrition. [b]The WFP's biggest concern is for the people living on 50 cents a day who have nothing to fall back on. [b]

POLITICAL WILL, COURAGE, GUTS ,BALLS CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT... WE NEED IT"The Government must show more urgency in ensuring the current world talks on agricultural trade no longer drift hopelessly because of a lack of political will." [t]

100 MILLION TO LIVE IN HUNGERThe United Nations Food Agency said that rising food prices threatened to plunge 100 million people across the world into hunger. [t]

THE NEW FACE OF HUNGER....WILL IT BE YOURS?Josette Sheeran, head of the UN’s World Food Programme, said before yesterday’s meeting: "This is the new face of hunger — the millions of people who were not in the urgent hunger category six months ago but now are." [t]
The impact of the crisis is already being felt in different parts of the world. Unless new funding can be found on time, WFP will have to suspend school feeding to 450,000 children beginning in May in Cambodia.[b]

BIOFUEL CONSUMING FOOD ASSETS. START YOU HUMMER AND..."With one child dying every five seconds from hunger-related causes, the time to act is now," Brown stressed[C]
FIVE ISSUES MUST BE RESOLVED NOWThere are at least five issues that need to be analyzed at the April 28-29 UN meeting for the start of a world food policy to be put into place.1. There is a need to intensify action on climate change. This year, there has been bad weather in key growing areas; in particular Australia, normally the world’s second-largest wheat exporter, has been suffering from an epic drought. This may be a result of particular weather conditions this year or may be a sign of climate change. It is necessary to analyze the impact of climate change on long-term food production and see alternative strategies.[tf]2. Higher prices for food are a reflection of the higher price of oil and energy costs. Much modern farming is energy-intensive for producing fertilizers, running tractors, and transporting farm products to consumers, often at long distances. Oil prices are influenced by the violence and social breakdown in Iraq and heavy speculation on the oil markets. There is a need both for short term measures to bring oil prices down to a reasonable level based on production costs and transportation as well as longer-range energy policies to free countries from oil dependence.[tf]3. Higher prices for oil have encouraged a greater use of ethanol and other biofuels, often without consideration of the impact of the production of biofuels on land use and food production. While biofuels are likely to be useful, their use should be limited at present so that the consequences of their use can be studied.[tf]4. Governmental food and agriculture policies need to be analyzed and reviewed carefully. The agricultural policies of the European Union and the larger food exporting countries —USA, Canada, Brazil, Australia — need to be reviewed and the impact of agricultural subsidies and export encouragement looked at beyond trying to build political support from farmers.[tf]5. There needs to be a detailed analysis of the role of speculation in the rise of commodity prices. There has been a merger of the former Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade to become the CME Group Market which deals in some 25 agricultural commodities. Banks and hedger funds, having lost money in the real estate mortgage packages are now looking for ways to get money back. For the moment, there is little governmental regulation of this speculation. There needs to be an analysis of these financial flows and their impact on the price of grains.[tf]

For decades, this produced low world prices and disincentives to poor farmers. Now, the opposite is happening. As a result of yet another government distortion -- this time subsidies to biofuels in the rich world -- prices have gone through the roof. Governments have further exaggerated the problem by imposing export quotas and trade restrictions, raising prices again. Agriculture is now in limbo. The world of cheap food has gone. With luck and good policy, there will be a new equilibrium. The transition from one to the other is proving more costly and painful than anyone had expected. But the change is desirable, and governments should be seeking to ease the pain of transition, not to stop the process itself.[s]

The current crisis has been described by Ms Josette Sheeran, the World Food Programme's executive director, as a "silent tsunami" of hunger sweeping the world's most desperate nations. Ms Sheeran's comments were made yesterday at a meeting with lawmakers and experts in London at which the British Prime Minister, Mr Gordon Brown, voiced the realistic view that this crisis poses "a threat to the political and economic stability of nations".[J]


The UN's World Food Programme is warning of more violence caused by hunger: "We are beginning to see more and more civil unrest, and I think it's pretty clear that a hungry man is an angry man, and as food gets more and more difficult to access, I think we can expect to see more incidents of civil unrest," said a spokeswoman.[e]

Posted here by Terry Bankert ...
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[B] BBChttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/7361945.stm

Comments of Terry Bankert to inculde CAP headlines

Euro Newshttp://www.euronews.net/index.php?page=info&article=482404&lng=1


[tf]Toward Freedomhttp://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/1286/1/[j]
Jamacian Observer

Business Standard


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