A LOVE SUPREME

I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

If you post comments here at Theos Project, please know that I will respond and engage your thoughts in a timely manner.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The World's Growing Food-Price Crisis

Soaring prices of staples — which have risen about 75% since 2005, driven by growing demand, rising oil prices and the effects of global warming — have sparked riots in several countries, as people reel from sticker shock and governments scramble to feed their people.

One factor driving up the cost of food is the rocketing price of oil, which raises agricultural costs of everything from fertilizer to transport and shipping. Like the oil price, the cost of food is responding, in part, to the burgeoning demand in China and India, where rising incomes allow people to eat bigger meals, and to buy meat far more frequently. That, in turn, has helped to squeeze the world's supply of grain, since it takes about six pounds of animal feed to produce a pound of meat.

Then there is climate change: Harvests have been seriously disrupted by freak weather, including prolonged droughts in Australia and southern Africa, floods in West Africa, and deep frost in China and Europe. And the push to produce biofuels to replace hydrocarbons is also adding to the pressure on food supplies — generous U.S. subsidies for ethanol has gobbled up needed food acreage, as farmers switch from producing food. "The area used for biofuels is increasing each year," says Nik Bienkowski, head of research at ETF Securities, a commodities trading firm in London.

From The World's Growing Food-Price Crisis

6 comments:

daniel said...

I wonder if there has ever been an era when it has been less popular to be a farmer.

A couple historical examples come to mind.

An open question to everyone on the thread: would you farm for yourself? Would you/ could you?

Fodder for a poll, Jon?

Melody said...

I don't know about farming, but my roommate and I finally live in a house with a massive backyard and a fair sized garden so I've been thinking maybe we should grow our own veggies. I think we even have fruit trees!

Of course there is the time factor. We both have full time jobs. I don't know if I'd really want to come home and dig around in the dirt...but then again, I might.

Of course, this really does nothing to help starving people elsewear.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Yes, in some sense, growing your own veggies/fruit and buying from local growers would hurt the third world farmer, wouldn't it? B/c then you are not buying their product.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Daniel,

I would love to be a farmer.

Seriously.

It is, after all, in my blood. My name in German means "Earth man" or "man of the earth," meaning a farmer. I think that in the past my people were farmers. (I like to think that in their spare time they were also quite interested in intellectual sparrings!)

Melody said...

Me:Of course, this really does nothing to help starving people elsewear.

Jon:Yes, in some sense, growing your own veggies/fruit and buying from local growers would hurt the third world farmer, wouldn't it? B/c then you are not buying their product.

Do you read my comments or do you just notice keywords and say whatever comes to you mind?

I don't think I buy my veggies from third world farmers. They probably come from the Amish or Florida.

daniel said...

The same processes discouraging "first-world" people from growing their own food discourage "third-world" people from doing the same.

A person on a banana plantation in a poor nation is in the same predicament of having to exchange labour for money to buy food and other goods.

We are all part of the same global economy.