[OPE] Your daily bread...

From: ope-admin@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu
Date: Thu Feb 28 2008 - 20:42:28 EST

-------------------- Original Message ----------------------------

Subject: Your daily bread...
From: "Jurriaan Bendien" <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Thu, February 28, 2008 5:05 pm

As I indicated on the list on 9 July 2007, the global food supply problem
is becoming really real, not a joke. Here's a short clip from the FT today
on the wheat markets:

"Prices of top quality wheat jumped 25 per cent yesterday, the biggest
one-day increase ever, to a record high as Kazakhstan, one of the world's
largest exporters of the grain, said it would impose export tariffs to
curb sales. The move, which follows similar export restrictions in Russia
and Argentina, is likely to put further pressure on already tight global
wheat  supplies, analysts said. Akhmetzhan Yesimov, Kazakhstan's minister
of agriculture, said the government wanted to limit exports as it battled
against rising domestic inflation of nearly 20 per cent. "Whatever
happens, we will soon limit exports," Mr Yesimov said. Kazakh grain is
similar to some of the scarce top-quality North American crops that jumped
in price yesterday. Spring wheat at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange
surged a record $4.75 to a record high of $24 a bushel as consumers
scrambled to secure supplies and speculators poured fresh money into
the agriculture market."

There exists a world market for wheat, the flow-on effect world
wide is rapid. Farm income, rents, and land values rise, production
also rises, be it with a certain time-lag, but for many of those at
the bottom of the heap it is very tough news meantime. It would not
surprise me if, in future, we will see food riots, rather than lots
of people reciting the Lord's prayer about "give us today our
daily bread".

An Indian author writes:

"India has created a network of 500,000 fair price shops to provide
affordable food. However this food security and food sovereignty
network is being deliberately dismantled. In 2001 - 2002, wheat
production was 69.8 million tonnes and procurement for food
distribution was 20 million tonnes. In 2006, in spite of production
increasing to 71.5 million tonnes, procurement has dropped to 9
million tonnes."

In terms of Stiglitz's "wellbeing" indicators, probably there will
statistically be less suicides among Indian farmers, if they earn
more, but what of the people who cannot afford to buy?

FAO reports that:

"India will host the first global conference on agro-industries, to be
held in New Delhi from 8-11 April 2008. The Global Agro-Industries Forum
(GAIF) will promote the importance of agro-industries for economic
development and poverty reduction."
<http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000793/index.html> Seems like a
jolly good idea, but do they know what the problem is?

Are people going to prioritise environmentaly friendly agriculture, if
their priority is finding something to eat as such? If the US
provides 50% of the world's food aid, can they keep that up if the
price of food keeps going up?

At its site, Monsanto headlines: "Monsanto is Uniquely Positioned to
Capitalize on Flourishing Agriculture Demand"
You bet they are!

In Canada, an effort is being made to set up a Market Share Matrix listing
the names of the companies that dominate several aspects of the food
system from seeds to retail.


They haven't got all that far yet with it.


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