[OPE-L] More about food

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Thu Nov 15 2007 - 16:27:44 EST

Western intellectuals get very worked up about the environment and global warming, but... 

"Worldwide, basic foods now cost 21 percent more at the wholesale level than in 2005, with key commodities such as grains and oils up more than 30 percent, according to World Bank price indexes. (...) Growing demand for grains as biofuels is pushing up the price of grains for human and livestock food. The success of India and China in lifting millions of their people out of poverty has increased global demand for higher-value foods. Rising food demand worldwide has worn down inventories. Stocks of wheat sit at 30-year lows.The jump in oil prices since 2004 has rippled into various food-related costs: fertilizer, refrigeration, transport. (...)

In 2001, about $1.2 billion in US food aid went toward nonemergency programs overseas, according to a recent report by Congress's Government Accountability Office. By last year, that number had dropped to $698 million. Moreover, for all food-aid programs funded by the US government, the volume of food delivered has declined 52 percent in the past five years. Rising transportation and operational costs were key reasons, the report said. http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0724/p01s01-wogi.html?page=3 http://www.gao.gov/docsearch/abstract.php?rptno=GAO-08-83T

Food accounts for about 10 percent of total consumer sending in the United States and other rich countries compared to over 60 per cent in very poor countries like Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Bangladesh. This means that say a thirty percent rise in food prices over a 5 year period, with other prices and money incomes held fixed, would reduce the standard of living in rich nations only by about 3 per cent, but it would lower living standards in poor nations by 21 per cent. http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2007/10/rising_food_pri.html

The world’s food import bill will rise in 2007 to $745bn (€508bn, £354bn), up 21 per cent from last year. The cost for developing countries will increase by 25.5 per cent, to almost $233bn. The annual food expenditure of the poorest countries has more than doubled since 2000, according to FAO estimates. http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_1011735.shtml

Food security stats: http://www.fao.org/es/ess/faostat/foodsecurity/index_en.htm

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