tagged w/ Food Prices
The emerging economies of Brazil, India, China and Russia will enjoy an agricultural boom over the next decade as production stalls in Western Europe, a report says.
Agricultural output in the Bric nations will grow three times as fast as in the major developed countries, the joint United Nations-OECD study said.
While overall world net production of commodities is forecast to grow 22%, production among the 30 members of the OECD is estimated at 10%. Production in western Europe alone will stagnate.
This OECD growth rate is almost three times slower than the growth rate of Bric countries, which is forecast to expand 27%. The report also identifies Ukraine as likely to see rapid agricultural growth over the next few years.
Crop prices, in real terms, will rise between 16% to 40% "above their average for the decade".
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/10320149.stmThe emerging economies of Brazil, India, China and Russia will enjoy an agricultural... more
St. Louis, Mo. -
'Confidential contracts detailing Monsanto Co.'s business practices reveal how the seed giant is squeezing competitors, controlling smaller companies and protecting its dominance over the multibillion-dollar market for genetically altered crops, an Associated Press investigation has found.
Monsanto's patented genes are inserted into roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the United States.
The company also is using its wide reach to control the ability of new biotech firms to get wide distribution for their products, according to a review of several Monsanto licensing agreements and dozens of interviews with seed industry participants and agriculture and legal experts.
Declining competition in the seed business could lead to price increases that ripple out to every family's dinner table. That's because the cornflakes you had for breakfast, soda you drank at lunch and beef stew you ate for dinner most likely were produced from crops grown with Monsanto's patented genes.
Monsanto's methods are spelled out in a series of confidential licensing agreements obtained by the AP. The contracts include basic terms for the selling of engineered crops resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, along with supplementary agreements that address new Monsanto traits or other contract amendments.
The company has used the agreements to spread its technology - giving some 200 smaller companies the right to insert Monsanto's genes into their separate strains of corn and soybean plants. But, the AP found, access to Monsanto's genes comes at a cost and with plenty of strings attached.
For example, one contract provision bans independent companies from breeding plants that contain both Monsanto's genes and the genes of any of its competitors, unless Monsanto gives prior written permission.
That gives Monsanto the ability to effectively lock out competitors from inserting their patented traits into the vast share of U.S. crops that already contain Monsanto's genes.
The U.S. Department of Justice and at least two state attorneys general are trying to determine whether Monsanto's business strategies and licensing agreements violate U.S. antitrust laws. The practices also are at the heart of civil antitrust lawsuits filed against the suburban St. Louis company by its competitors.'
Continued at link...St. Louis, Mo. - 'Confidential contracts detailing Monsanto Co.'s... more
I've been a chef now for three years, and in that time I have worked in countless kitchens. Of all the places I have worked from ski resorts, to private golf clubs and gated communities there has been one common problem and theme among the kitchens and that is they all waste mass amounts of food. In some circumstances laws prohibit unused and unwanted food from being distributed to those in need. Perfectly good food that could be transported and distributed is instead being thrown away. I don't think people within the industry put much thought into it,the food we serve like many things in our country becomes just another certainty which makes the value in our eyes seem anything but. I'm looking to get people together to help change this through whatever steps necessary. We may be spoiled americans, but its time we stop over indulging ourselves and reach out to those in need. With the way the economy and job market is currently, sometimes unforeseeable circumstances have put alot of people in situations they never would have expected to be in. I always look at it in the tense that if I were in this situation I would want someone to reach out so that compels me to. What might compel you?I've been a chef now for three years, and in that time I have worked in countless... more
Informative interview with Raj Patel, author of 'Stuffed And Starved' regarding the global food crisis and the reasons for the increase in food prices.Informative interview with Raj Patel, author of 'Stuffed And Starved'... more
Sales of ethical food, such as organic produce grown without chemicals, and Fairtrade products for which farmers in poor countries are paid more to help improve living standards, are both slowing.
"There is a huge propensity for people wanting things to be done in an ethical manner," said Jonathan Banks, U.K.-based business insight director with market research firm the Nielsen Company.
"But they are not going to make repeat purchases on something that is not good value for money," he said.
After years of rapid growth, organic sales in supermarkets fell 11.6 percent year-on-year to June 14, 2009 and Fairtrade sales rose just 5.7 percent, according to statistics from research company TNS Worldpanel.
In 2008, organic sales totaled 2.1 billion pounds in the UK and Fairtrade sales were in excess of 700 million pounds, according to organic and Fairtrade industry sources.
Organic foods in supermarkets are typically marked up 25 percent, Neilsen's Banks said, adding that the premium is turning price-conscious shoppers against purchases.
(Full article at link)Sales of ethical food, such as organic produce grown without chemicals, and Fairtrade... more
Yet another indicator of a tough economy, experts are predicting that the price of milk will double. And we’re not just talking about organic, ultrapasteurized milk.
A gallon of ordinary milk at the grocery store is expected to double, and the cost of other dairy products could rise dramatically as well, just as dairy farmers are preparing to slaughter 103,000 cows.
The slaughtering, which The National Milk Producers Federation will provide dairy farmers with incentives for in the next few months, is expected to help cut the cost of dairy production and shift costs to consumers.
As a result of higher feed costs and a milk surplus, it currently costs about $17 to produce $10 worth of milk, according to a Bloomberg report.In addition to milk prices doubling, the average retail butter price could exceed the record high of $3.94 a pound and cheddar cheese prices could reach or exceed $5.10 a pound in 2010 as milk production falls.Yet another indicator of a tough economy, experts are predicting that the price of... more
The food crisis has pushed the number of hungry people in the world to almost 1bn, in what the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation described on Tuesday as a “serious setback” to global efforts to reduce mass starvation.
“The ongoing financial and economic crisis could tip even more people into hunger and poverty,” the FAO added.
The Rome-based organisation said that a preliminary estimate showed the number of undernourished people rose this year by 40m to about 963m people, after rising 75m in 2007. Before the food crisis, there were about 848m chronically hungry people in 2003-05.
“High food prices are driving millions of people into food insecurity, worsening conditions for many who were already food-insecure, and threatening long-term global food security,” the FAO said in its report The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008.
Prices of agricultural commodities such as wheat, corn and rice jumped to record levels earlier this year, triggering food riots in countries ranging from Haiti to Egypt to Bangladesh and prompting appeals for food aid for more than 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
I suggest everyone go to freerice.com...The food crisis has pushed the number of hungry people in the world to almost 1bn, in... more
Just the headline 1 in 8 go hungry caught my eye. That number is just staggering to think about. What also caught my eye was the fact that food banks are starting to see an increase in the number of college educated people who are in need of assistance. With everything that is going on with the US economy the first thing people think about is what does this mean to me. This article really makes you think about how bad things might get if the mass layoffs continue. What do you think about this and do you think its going to get much worse?Just the headline 1 in 8 go hungry caught my eye. That number is just staggering to... more
There no seem to be a stop to the continual increase of food prices at the same time the doom of the neoliberal economy unfolds. There no seem to be a stop to the continual increase of food prices at the same time... more
"In a open letter to the next president, author Michael Pollan writes about the waning health of America's food systems — and warns that "the era of cheap and abundant food appears to be drawing to a close."
The future president's food policies, says Pollan, will have a large impact on a wide range of issues, including national security, climate change, energy independence and health care"...
I heard this on NPR on a rather long road trip... it was quite an eye-opener. "In a open letter to the next president, author Michael Pollan writes about the... more
BIOFUELS are incredibly salty and don't really go with anything, hungry people in the Third World said last night.
As food crops are ploughed up to make way for biodiesel plants, local people in Africa, Asia and South America said they would really prefer rice, corn or some form of wheat.
Western governments believe biofuels can deliver three key objectives, including: reducing CO2 emmissions; guaranteeing energy security; and plunging the develoloping world into an endless, downward spiral of food riots and civil war.
Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies said: "At the moment it does make it somewhat impractical for half the global population to have their dinner.
"But in 40 or 50 years biofuels will be so efficient that we will be able to grow the crops in Africa, ship the fuel to America, refine it and then use it to ship cheese-based food products back to whoever's still living in Africa."
Charles Diogo, a farmer from Mozambique, said: "I really did try to like it, but I'm sorry, it's just a bit too diesely for my palate.
"But it's okay, don't worry, I'm sure we'll find something else to eat, somewhere.
"It's very important to us that you are able to drive to Asda in a more environmentally friendly way."
BIOFUELS are incredibly salty and don't really go with anything, hungry... more
Pakistan has been hit by severe food price inflation – the worst in its 61-year history. The prices of many basic food items have more than doubled in the last year and poor families are now spending two thirds to three quarters of their monthly income on their meals alone.
Until last year nearly one third of Pakistan’s population was said to be below the poverty line. This figure has grown as more people have fallen into the poverty trap that is aggravated by the food crisis. The sudden rise in the incidence of suicide is an indicator of the increasing despondency that poverty and unemployment are breeding in the country. Social worker, Abdus Sattar Edhi, who has done enormous work to provide relief to indigent people, says nearly four or five people in the country commit suicide every day and that a large number of these cases can be attributed to the victims’ inability to make ends meet. Some of these incidents were so touching that they made headlines in national newspapers. Bushra Bibi, a mother of two, killed herself along with her two children by throwing everyone before an approaching train.
Although Pakistan’s economy has been in crisis for some time now, the real crunch has come with the rise in food and oil prices. Traditionally, the food intake of most people has been inadequate in the country and as a result malnutrition is rampant. According to Human Development in South Asia 2007, a report by the Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Center, 23 per cent of Pakistan’s people were undernourished in 2003 while 19 per cent of the country’s children were stunted, underweight or in severe health crisis in 2005. Doctors believe that in the last couple of years malnutrition has increased.
Health is the first casualty when food prices shoot up. Suddenly the common man cannot afford to buy a decent meal for his family. But people’s lives are also affected in many other ways. Nadia ekes out a living for herself and her five children by doing part time work in the homes of the well-to-do. Nadia’s husband is a daily wage earner in the building industry. As the economy has faltered, the building sector has slumped, which means Nadia’s husband returns home empty-handed in the evening more often than before. Previously in times of crisis – which were short-lived and temporary – Nadia managed to easily sustain the family by breaking the clay pot in which she kept her savings. Now the clay pot is empty and Nadia worries whether she will be able to feed her children on her income alone. She finds the cost daunting.
If the situation does not improve, Nadia may have to pull her children out of school because a considerable chunk of her income goes into educating her two sons and daughter. She regards her children’s schooling as an investment for the future. “But we need food to live,” Nadia laments. “If I have to divert my children’s school fees to buy food, I will not have much of a choice,” she remarks. That will be the end of her dream to give her children a brighter future.
It is a pity that this misfortune should befall Nadia and others like her in a country where agriculture contributes 24 percent to the gross domestic product. At one point Pakistan was self-sufficient in wheat cultivation, but when production did not meet the country’s demand last year, grain had to be imported. However, with astute economic planning the government can ensure that no person goes to bed hungry.
Pakistan has been hit by severe food price inflation – the worst in its 61-year... more
Prices of foodstuffs from bread to beef have risen by up to 50% in Venezuela after the country's government raised the regulated prices of basic items.
It also removed price controls on other food products including oatmeal, salt and certain cuts of pork. It is hoped that higher prices will encourage production of staple items to prevent further shortages. Some food producers welcomed the move, but it could add to Venezuela's already high rate of inflation. In July, prices in the metropolitan area of Caracas, which are used as a benchmark, were 33.7% higher than 12 months earlier.
The Venezuelan Pork Federation welcomed the "very important" price adjustments. However, the Bread Industry Federation said bread production was still not profitable, even at the latest high prices. The measures, which included a 50% rise in the price of beef and a 49% increase in bread prices, were introduced on Tuesday. Beef has risen to $8 (£4.30) per kilo and bread has increased to $2.06 per kilo. Prices of foodstuffs from bread to beef have risen by up to 50% in Venezuela after the... more
Even as it receives a billion pounds of free food from international donors, Sudan is growing and selling vast quantities of its own crops to other countries, capitalising on high global food prices at a time when millions of people in its war-riddled region of Darfur barely have enough to eat.
...Why is a country that exports so many of its own crops receiving more free food than anywhere else in the world, especially when the Sudanese government is blamed for creating the crisis in the first place?
Take sorghum, a staple of the Sudanese diet, typically eaten in flat, spongy bread. Last year, the United States government, as part of its response to the emergency in Darfur, shipped in 283,000 tons of sorghum, at high cost, from as far away as Houston. Oddly enough, that is about the same amount that Sudan exported, according to United Nations officials. This year, Sudanese companies, including many that are linked to the government in Khartoum, are on track to ship out twice that amount, even as the United Nations is being forced to cut rations to Darfur.
Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College and an outspoken activist who has written frequently on the Darfur crisis, called this anomaly "one of the least reported and most scandalous features of the Khartoum regime's domestic policies." It was emblematic, he said, of the Sudanese government's strategy to manipulate "national wealth and power to further enrich itself and its cronies, while the marginalized regions of the country suffer from terrible poverty."
Even as it receives a billion pounds of free food from international donors, Sudan is... more
Oak Brook, Ill. -- McDonald's Corp. is testing modifications to its popular $1 double cheeseburger, and higher prices for the sandwich, as it prepares to change its Dollar Menu by next year.
In an interview, Don Thompson, president of McDonald's U.S. business, said the company has tested ways to make the burger less expensive to make. Some restaurants are selling it with one slice of cheese instead of two, and billing it as a "double hamburger with cheese." Others are offering a double hamburger without cheese. Some are selling the traditional double cheeseburger at prices ranging from $1.09 to $1.19.
Company is also considering expanding what it considers the middle tier of its menu, items ranging from about $1.30 to $2. "We know customers are facing tough times in this economy," Mr. Thompson said.
Launched in 2003, the Dollar Menu has been a key driver of sales at McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants and has helped it ride out dips in consumer spending. But recently, franchisees have complained that the menu has brought too much unprofitable traffic into their restaurants.
The biggest question for the eight-item menu is what to do with the double cheeseburger, considered its anchor. High dairy prices have pushed up the cost of cheese, and McDonald's predicts more pressure because its beef costs will be higher this year. Mr. Thompson said if McDonald's moves the double cheeseburger off that menu, there would still be some type of $1 burger.
Internal sales documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show that, as of late June, sales of the chain's lattes, cappuccinos and other espresso drinks were off their peak in several main markets where they're being sold. Mr. Thompson said "the numbers really don't tell the story."
Lower-priced beverages, including $1.89 iced coffee and a $1 fountain-drink and sweet-tea promotion, have pulled some sales away from the espresso drinks, which range from about $2 to $3. That was something the company hadn't anticipated, he said.
McDonald's overall beverage expansion, adding espresso drinks, smoothies, cold tea, bottled drinks and ice-blended coffee beverages at U.S. locations, is on track to exceed the company's goal of adding $125,000 a year in sales per restaurant, even though it doesn't yet have national advertising behind it, Mr. Thompson said. He sees McDonald's target of the drinks adding $1 billion a year to the company's sales as "definitely achievable." The rollout will be complete at the end of 2009.
Oak Brook, Ill. -- McDonald's Corp. is testing modifications to its popular $1... more
The average trip to the supermarket is costing much more than before - which means that some people have been forced to drastically cut back on their food consumption.The average trip to the supermarket is costing much more than before - which means... more