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World food fears mount: Should we take them seriously?

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posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 01:28 PM
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Have you heard of the movie "King Corn"? Interesting. It's currently showing on PBS. Unfortunately, I haven't found it on my local station yet, but I haven't given up.

It speaks to the over abundance of corn in our country leading to the cost of healthy food going up and the cost of junky corn filled food going down. The film also talks about how corn feeding cows has changed our diets completely .. and not in a good way.

www.pbs.org...

Anyway, it addresses some of the discussion here.

Here is a piece from the website:

Bushels & Cents: Corn and the Farm Bill
You don't have to move to Iowa or grow an acre of corn to understand U.S. farm policy, or to see its powerful effect on the American food system. Just take a stroll through the supermarket or see what's cooking at the local fast-food restaurant, and you’ll notice a telling trend. Corn is everywhere, and most obviously, it’s in the corn-fed burgers and corn-sweetened sodas that are abundant in the American diet.


But this ubiquity of corn products is not entirely fueled by market demand. All-out production of corn (a record 300 million tons were harvested in 2007) and low corn prices (read: 99 cent hamburgers and free soda refills) are also driven by government policy. In particular, they’re powered by a complex piece of legislation dubbed the Farm Bill, which comes up for reauthorization in Congress every five to seven years.


Earl Butz
America has enacted farm relief legislation since the New Deal-era, when aid programs set in motion under the Roosevelt Administration obligated farmers to keep production low so that crop prices would remain high. But the modern Farm Bill bears little resemblance to its 1930s counterpart. Since President Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz abolished production limits in the early 1970s, corn farmers have been guaranteed a livable income by a subsidy system that doles out cash even when the market is already flooded with corn.

These subsidies have become big business. While initially meant to protect farmers from the vagaries of weather and the fickleness of the free market system, the subsidy system now often rewards big growers over small- and mid-sized producers. Moreover, in recent decades it has tended to consolidate government payments in the hands of a few. Between 2003 and 2005, for example, American taxpayers paid $34.75 billion in crop subsidy benefits to farmers, but only the top one percent of farmers received nearly one-fifth of that amount. In Iowa, 70 percent of subsidy payments go to only 20 percent of the state’s commodity farmers.


This government support for big corn growers has meant that corn farmers have little incentive to curtail their production. Record-breaking harvests continue to overflow grain bins and elevators across the Midwest. In turn, corn-based feeds remain a relatively inexpensive and convenient option for livestock producers, and corn sweeteners and oils offer a cheap and ready ingredient for processed foods like sodas and french fries.

In contrast, the Farm Bill currently offers little reward to farmers who grow nutrient-rich with corn to land that produces watermelons or tomatoes. The result is an imbalance in the price of healthy foods versus unhealthy ones. Throughout the 1990s, the real price of fruits and vegetables rose 40 percent. And by 2000, the price of many sodas and other junk foods had dropped to 80 percent of their price in 1985.

Even as an increase in obesity prompts warnings from public health officials, American farm policy continues to set the stage for the mass production of high calorie and low nutrition corn products. In turn, these foods continue to dominate the American foodscape.

If you are really interested, read.

www.michaelpollan.com...


You will never look at food the same way again.




posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 02:55 PM
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Originally posted by MaMaa


This government support for big corn growers has meant that corn farmers have little incentive to curtail their production. Record-breaking harvests continue to overflow grain bins and elevators across the Midwest. In turn, corn-based feeds remain a relatively inexpensive and convenient option for livestock producers, and corn sweeteners and oils offer a cheap and ready ingredient for processed foods like sodas and french fries.

In contrast, the Farm Bill currently offers little reward to farmers who grow nutrient-rich with corn to land that produces watermelons or tomatoes. The result is an imbalance in the price of healthy foods versus unhealthy ones. Throughout the 1990s, the real price of fruits and vegetables rose 40 percent. And by 2000, the price of many sodas and other junk foods had dropped to 80 percent of their price in 1985.


If you are really interested, read.

www.michaelpollan.com...


You will never look at food the same way again.


Good, good find! It's not as cheap as some people make it out to be to eat healthy!



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:04 PM
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Hello all... first post.

Not to sound like Chicken Little on this matter, but this is just the tip of the coming food shortage for real.

Currently, food prices are through the roof and affecting people around the world. There are endless reasons for the 'why' including everything from high fuel prices, to misguided ethanol policies, to high tarrifs on outside imports to the US, to the explosion of the meat-eating middle classes of China and India, to corporate greed, and on and on...

All of those things are to blame and adding to the mess.

Add to it these factors, which are even more terrifying in the bigger-picture sense.

It is estimated that due to the overfishing of the ocean, over 90 percent of commerical fish are gone.

The US and Europe are still experiencing MASSIVE honeybee colony collapses and mysterious die-offs. Now, one could argue that the bees could return in force. The economics of the situation are that, financially, the commercial beekeepers can't survive the losses for long. Either way, our food supply could see even greater impacts.

It's not just the grains themselves that expensive, it is the SEED for these grains. Even if a farmer wants to plant massive wheat fields to meet the demand, the price of the seeds can be a deterrent.

The time of massive grain silos in the US storing up enough to get through tough growing seasons has past. Due to supply chain management and the like, supplies move from the fields, to the processors, to the end-users with very little time lag. The surplus is minimal and very succeptable to droughts, supply disruptions, and any other unforseen circumstance.

People still don't know the long-term effects of genetically engineered crops. This current 'crisis' will certainly lift the remaining bans and controls on these crops, allowing them into the mainstream food chain. Once that happens, it is anyone's guess what will happen to anything that consumes those foods. Chances are, it won't be good. Evolution and natural resistances and immunities have served us well... messing with the system is a catastrophy waiting to happen.

So what can you do about it without wearing your tinfoil hat out among your neighbors and friends?

I'd start with planting a garden. Utilize whatever space you have... a suburban lawn or flower garden, a porch, a deck, windowsils with good light... anything. If possible, get some heirloom seeds to try and minimize any potential of GE strains. Learn to harvest the seeds from your own crop for use next year.

If you can only plant a little, but your neighbor can plant a lot, work out a deal with anyone that you know to maximize your output. If the best you can do is plant some herbs inside your house, then let your neighbor plant the bigger things like corn, zuchinni, etc and work out a trade at harvest time.

Support your local farmers. Find the farmers markets, co-ops, and orchards. Buy through the year to suppliment your own crops and buy in bulk at the end of the season. Learn to properly process your fresh produce for use during non-growing seasons. Learn to dry and to can and find that perfect cool, dark, and dry space to store it all. A fruit cellar would be ideal, a basement works too... do what you can.

Always grow more than you need, can more than you need, and store more than you need... barter will be your friend.

I'm a level-headed guy who lives in the real world, but I think things don't look to improve anytime soon.



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:13 PM
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There is NO FOOD SHORTAGE, NO FUEL SHORTAGE, the US Dollar is fine, the economy is going great; there aren't any real shortages and everything is going to be just fine. Stay right where you are, be frugile and do as you are told. When youre state comes due for the National ID Card, don't delay and of course be sure to pay your taxes and all your bills on time.

Oh, and be sure to vote in the up coming Presidential election, it is your right and obligation as American Citiznes to chose amongst the CFR Approved Candidates.

God Bless America



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:28 PM
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Oh, and when you go to the market, buy just a little extra. You don't have to go crazy, but every time you stop at the store, buy an extra can of beans, an extra bag of rice, an extra box of dried or condensed milk... just one or two staples on every trip. Stock up that pantry, it's never a bad idea to always have extra food on hand. You can never go wrong with extra food... its uses are many, either as something to feed yourself and your family with, or as something to trade. If it is all for naught, again no harm, because as another member here put it, you can just donate it to your local food bank. Nothing is wasted by picking up just a little extra.

Oh, and learn to cook! It's way cheaper to feed yourself with a whole chicken, a bag of potatoes, and a bag of onions than it is to get premade chicken pieces, premade soup, and premade french fries or mashed potatoes... and healthier too!



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 04:10 PM
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OK, I just posted a variation of this in another thread, but I think it bears repeating here. I apologize for the overlap.

There was just an economist on Fox News who suggested that we go out to the store and buy non-perishable foods in bulk right now.

His reasoning was that, with savings and money market interest rates at such low levels, those funds are losing money against inflation and that your money was better spent on buying food items that were only getting more expensive by the day.

So, is this green light to hoard a way of encouraging everyone to be sure to go out and spend that stimulus refund check and not stick it in the bank, or was this a very subtle, very soft way to tell the masses to be sure and stock up to prepare for the coming armageddon?

The mass media is preparing us for something. Either it is herding us into the slaughterhouse or trying to warn us. Either way, something ominous seems to be looming ahead.



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 04:16 PM
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what food shortage? i haven't seen tale of any food shortage in the US. Food may be running out elsewhere like it always has in third world countries, but until you don't see a McDonalds on every street corner, there is no food shortage here.



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 04:26 PM
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Originally posted by Mad_Hatter
what food shortage? i haven't seen tale of any food shortage in the US. Food may be running out elsewhere like it always has in third world countries, but until you don't see a McDonalds on every street corner, there is no food shortage here.


You consider McDonalds to be "food?"


Shortages can certainly be seen in respect to price and not what is sitting on the shelf. The prices are going up... way up. If you've been to the grocery store lately and have any concept of what things like a pound of butter, a loaf of bread, a box of pasta, a carton of eggs, etc. should cost, you know that you are paying much, much more than ever before. With price increases that dramatic, it means that demand is far outpacing supply. You are seeing an actual lack of product in poor countries like Haiti, the Philippines, Egypt, etc. because not even the shops can pay the price and the costs are outstripping what the average family can handle. You still see food on the shelves in the US because, so far, we can still pay that price.

Sure, the price of fuel has impacted the prices in the grocery store, but until you read reports of massive amounts of food rotting in the fields and in storage (which there aren't any) then fuel isn't the only thing to blame for the prices. Shortages in supply are having an even greater impact.

[edit on 4/25/08 by larphillips]



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 04:29 PM
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I guess that's my problem homie. I don't go to the grocery store. I usually eat on the run cuz I stay so busy and travel all the time. You know, restraunts and fast food usually. I guess food is expensive for me no matter what.



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 04:50 PM
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Higher prices don't necessarily mean there is a shortage. I eat very healthy and make all my food food from scratch, I go through a lot of the staple type of foods. I can go into any grocery store and find these foods on the very well stocked shelves for slightly more than what I was paying prior. If it were not for the media and ATS telling me there was a food shortage crisis of sorts then it would have never entered my mind that it was a problem.

Living where I live I still see a lot of surplus. I see plenty of fields being farmed, grocery stores with fully stocked shelves with a slight increase in cost. I see no shortage in my area, but well you know how it goes.. if ATS and the Media say it is so then it must be the truth right?



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 06:47 PM
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This problem is due to supply and demand. With regard to essential items such as food and fuel, you will pay what the suppliers think you can afford.

A huge percentage of the corn havest is now being diverted to the production of ethanol. Prices for this will be comparative to prices of other fuels. The amout of corn needed to fill the fuel tank of an SUV will feed one person for a year.

Farmers will sell their harvest at a given price, no matter what it is being used for. However, heavy food subsidies are being dropped because the farmer can now make a better profit from his corn. Which is why we have had a 141% cost increase over the last year.

Corn is one of the staple foods and the price of it always has a knock on effect with other foods. Combined with increased fuel prices for transportation, the cost of most foods will continue to increase dramatically.

News of a world food 'shortage' may just well be a sneaky way of getting you to pay these higher prices.

[edit on 25/4/08 by Myrdyn]



posted on Apr, 26 2008 @ 04:01 AM
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here in Canada we have a government which is hell bent on outlawing smoking due to the bad ass effects of smoking-cancer. they are now forcing the stores to lock up and hide the smokes from public view while booze and other sin taxed items have free rein to openly display their products -welcome to the land of democracy aka the new police state governed by our duly elected dictators. but as to your statement about the farmers growing for bio- fuels here in Canada we have huge tobacco farms that have been in the business for many years and they are slowly being legislated out of business they have asked for and received no help from the governments or banks up here -these people are losing their livelihoods and no one seems to care because it`s bad for you.my understanding is that after growing tobacco's poisons that land for 3 to 7 years after your last harvest -so if our governments all over the world are set and determined to grow bio-fuels why in the hell arn`t they helping these farmers to startup growing crops for this alternate fuel source its because they are all talk right now there is no plant built for making this new fuel so until they get off the crap line nothing will happen.this in turn would give the tobacco farmers a viable crop to grow and it would not take away any of the other farmers fields to grow food sometimes a simple solution is the best alternative to the wisdom of our governments folly.



posted on Apr, 26 2008 @ 12:41 PM
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Hi all,

After hearing about the increased cost of food around the world over the last couple of weeks, and reading an article in todays local online newspaper, I thought I'd put in my two cents worth on ATS.
Instead of focusing on all food, I thought I'd look specifically at rice.

This is the article I read today Dearth of rice boils over.

VICTORIA'S peak food relief agency has been forced to ration rice as a world shortage of the food staple bites...Rice prices on the Chicago Board of Trade futures market reached a record high yesterday as some US supermarkets began to ration rice and consumers began stockpiling supplies...Prices for rice -- the food staple of half the world -- have doubled in the past year and the supply crisis, brought about by high prices and low yields due to drought..."We know it impacts on poorer and developing countries but the free market is forcing up prices..."


Now this got me thinking, what's the cause of all this? So I decided to look up the worlds rice production, exports etc.
Here is what I found World Rice Production, Consumption, and Stocks and World Rice Trade.

World Rice Production, Consumption, and Stocks
Local Marketing Years, Thousand Metric Tons
2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08Mar 2007/08Apr
Milled Production
World Total 391,699 400,775 418,061 420,561 422,937 425,288
Total Consumption
World Total 413,171 408,393 416,029 420,917 422,527 424,211
Ending Stocks
World Total 82,054 74,436 76,468 76,112 75,166 77,189

World Rice Trade
January/December Year, Thousand Metric Tons
2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08Mar 2007/08Apr
TY Exports
World Total 27,184 29,226 29,403 30,299 29,375 27,485
TY Imports
World Total 27,184 29,226 29,403 30,299 29,375 27,485


Clearly the world is not running out of rice, as world production has actually increased steadily over the years.
The claim that drought (in Australia) has caused the world price increase is ludicrous, as Australian rice represents only around 0.2% of world rice production, and exports represent about 4% of world trade. The drought would have no major impact on world prices.
Locally I can see why people are stockpiling (fear and the fear feeding off itself...catch 22), but I can't see it as a major contributor to price increases in the world market, as this stockpiling is not happening everywhere in the world. The availability of rice is still there in the wold market (see earlier links). Rationing I believe is occurring purely to to stop supplies running low at the local level.
So what's causing the price increases? Personally I think it's due to world "free market" economic system that encourages speculation, but primarily the increase in world money supply (inflation), particularly the US dollar...As the US dollar weakens, the cost of buying overseas goods increase, as they are traded is US dollars.
The food riots that have occurred have all been in very poor countries...It's not that there isn't enough food in the world, it's that these people can't afford it.
I would expect to see in the next few weeks, the IMF/World Bank to play their "loans for aid" game...got to keep that debt/slavery cycle moving.



posted on Apr, 26 2008 @ 05:47 PM
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Originally posted by Mad_Hatter
what food shortage? i haven't seen tale of any food shortage in the US. Food may be running out elsewhere like it always has in third world countries, but until you don't see a McDonalds on every street corner, there is no food shortage here.


It's scary that some people think this way.

I don't care if this is a one line reply.



posted on Apr, 26 2008 @ 10:53 PM
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Locally, I haven't seen signs of any food shortages, or even rising prices for food, but it's definitely happening elsewhere in the world. Even MSM is reporting on it, perhaps even overreporting it by scaring people. Still, food is NOT something you want to be without. I think richer nations will be alright, at least for a little while, though things may get worse in the future.

The only thing locally that I've seen whose price is going through the roof is gasoline. It costs $1.17/L in Canada, and a gallion is something like 3.7 liters, so that's probably roughly $4/gallon, in American units. The only other thing that I know would cost me a mint if I wanted to buy it, is gold.

Should we take the food fears seriously? I'm not sure. If there really is a significant food shortage coming, then absolutely. I don't know enough about the causes of the food shortages, which leads me to the real point I want to make with my post...

*WHY* is there a food shortage? What is causing it? Is it artificial scarcity, poor harvests, increased population, weaker purchasing power due to poorer economy, or what? I've seen a lot of MSM and other reports about the food shortage, but I've never seen a discussion as to the cause and a potential solution.



posted on Apr, 27 2008 @ 12:06 AM
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Maybe part of the consequences of a shrinking dollar is that the world has less ability to fill their groceriy bags. As the dollar falls the ability to buy the same amount of food that was available the previous year with a strong dollar has led to shortages at the UN Food Programs. I was watching a C-Span broadcat showing some pretty concerned UN Food Program Officials getting all exercised about their inability to fill their food orders because the dollars shrinking buying power.



posted on Apr, 27 2008 @ 06:51 AM
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Yes, I'm taking it seriously, yet I am not in panic mode.

Last night I noticed that almost all of the rice was sold out (a local grocer in my town). I picked up two small bags of rice. The usual amount I buy.

I have a strange feeling that alot of this is being hyped for a particular reason. I'm seriously sick of the fear mongering that goes on. I'm with another poster on here who said to keep our eyes open, which I intend to do.



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 03:41 AM
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I had an idea since the last time I posted in this thread. I was thinking that if I owned a grocery store right now (and I were completely unethical!), I would take some of my basic items, like milk, eggs, sugar, rice, and so on, and start telling people that there were limits to how many they could buy. I'd say, no more than 4 jugs of milk due to shortage, or no more than 4 dozen eggs, or 2 bags of sugar, or 2 bags of rice.

My reason for thinking such is that these numbers are high enough that even if everyone failed to follow my evil plan, I wouldn't actually lose out, because how often does someone buy more than 4 jugs of milk at once, or the rest that I listed. However, if my evil plan were to succeed, people in the stores would see my signs, say to themselves 'oh dear, I'd better stock up before those are all gone', and then buy the maximum of the item instead of the 1 or 2 that they would have normally bought. I'd make more sales by panicking people.

Would it work? I don't know, I'm not a businessman. But if I were really really evil, I might try that strategy and see how it impacted my sales.



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 02:08 PM
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Ok I will make this comment and tomorrow add some, but to this a thought.........

Food shortage = No food = buy lots of food or more than u normally would.

Failing economy!!!!

Panic buys means more money for the economy and there running out of places to tax



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 03:48 PM
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I was wondering if anyone can pinpoint the first media announcement about the so called food shortage.I'll bet it was Faux news.It's funny back in the 70's we had a so called fuel shortage and prices went up with gas lines and so on.....hmmm, turned out there was no fuel shortage just the corporate oil execs. wanted more green backs.Now here we are 30+ years later and look fuel shortage again....now they are adding in food shortages.See it's all about greed.

My opinion, all of it is a made up pack of BS lies.They will ride this thing out as long as they can until it gets to the point where all of a sudden boom"hey guess what folks we found 500 billion barrels of oil under the Dakotas. Oops....to late".

Then all of a sudden no food shortage "sorry folks it was only because we could not afford to ship the food because of the fuel prices".

[edit on 28-4-2008 by CaptGizmo]



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