Graph of world food prices spiking...

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Graph of world food prices spiking...

Postby Kevin » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:15 pm

I found this graph of global food prices over recent years pretty interesting...

http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/51913/icode/

"Global food prices increased for the eighth consecutive month in February, with prices of all commodity groups monitored rising again, except for sugar, [UN Food and Agriculture Organisation] said today."

Global food prices hit new record high
http://climateprogress.org/2011/03/03/g ... cord-high/

"What is driving up food prices to record levels? As I’ve discussed in CP’s food insecurity series, it’s harvests ruined by extreme weather, coupled with rising oil prices, increasing demand from population growth and changing diets in a global market made all the tighter by unsustainable biofuels policies."


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Postby Richard Haut » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:34 am

well, yes .... and no.

certainly many food prices are going up because of ruined crops, high oil prices, etc., but ....

according to the OECD, food prices in the G7 nations are rising at an average of 2.1% - 0.1% in France, 0.3% in Ireland, but in Britain food inflation is at 6.3%.

according to the Daily Mail: "There is a suggestion that the ‘big four’ supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – have used concerns about increasing global commodity prices to push through unfair increases.

Research by analysts at UBS shows commodity inflation would justify a 3 to 3.5 per cent rise in processed food prices, but UK supermarkets have lifted prices by 6 to 6.5 per cent.

Economists Paul Donovan and Larry Hatheway, who co-wrote the report, said: ‘Prices are rising in excess of justifiable cost increases."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1GYRrSW2b

over several decades, the food supply chain in Britain has been taken over by the big supermarkets. For example, not only large numbers of small local butchers closed - so did the abattoirs which supplied them. Most local bakers vanished. The difference in France is dramatic. Certainly there are large supermarkets here (Carrefour, Monoprix, Casino, Auchan) and the cheap outlet groups such as Aldi and Netto, but what also remains are the traditional food markets. There are at least eight bakers within 5 minutes walk of where I live (1 an award-winner), as well as dépôts de pain (authorised bread-distributors). In France it is the law that every single area must have a baker supplying a baguette of strictly controlled price, weight and quality every single day of the year (apart from Christmas Day), and don't even think of industrially-prepared dough. Baking is a serious craft here.

in Britain the traditional food growers and the trades needed to prepare food have been undermined, industrialised and organised into a form of cartel.

In Britain there has been an attempt to bring back traditional markets with so-called Farmers' Markets, especially for bio-foods, but I understand that these remain expensive and small-scale.

However it is the traditional market where local producers sell their produce, combined with small-scale specialists, butchers, pasta-makers, bakers, etc. which enable the supply of food across a range of prices.

Fresh food which can be bought ..... without additives or other adulteration ...... at all price-levels.

yes world food prices are rising, but - to paraphrase Dubya Bush - watch out for gouging at the checkout.
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I looked for the enemy, and he is me.

Postby Ed Ziomek » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:58 pm

Kev and Rich, great to have these discussions.

Let me add another wrinkle in the already complicated issue of rising food prices.

I am the one, along with millions of others, who just recently was on the side of using food products for fuel!

What a bizarre concept, when I think about it.

It was ME on this Fireside Forum, and many persons like myself who said... sure, let's take the primary food staple, ie. CORN, of so many hundreds of millions of marginally existing people, and redirect it into being an additive of "persons who could afford a car".

And I think that was the original rise in 2002-2003 of food products! Check the chart.

Oh, did I mention, the US government may STILL be giving billion dollar subsidies to this industry, like the OIL INDUSTRY NEEDS IT!!!???

"Subsidies for corn ethanol" by zfacts.com...

http://zfacts.com/p/63.html

So I am embarrassed to admit that I supported the horrific bad move towards corn food products being used for fuel, and what is the song by Beck, "I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me."

"Someone keeps sayin I'm insane to complain..."
"Forces of evil in a bozo nightmare..."
"You can't write if you can't relate..."

It was a bad move. How can we make it better?
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Postby Richard Haut » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:37 am

Ed

from what I have heard the real problem is not food production, but food distribution.

I doubt that the corn used for fuel would have got anywhere near the hungry people.

sometimes the treatment of growers by supermarkets can be atrocious. Food supply/price manipulation is to blame.

as is quoted on Kevin's post: "What is driving up food prices to record levels? As I’ve discussed in CP’s food insecurity series, it’s harvests ruined by extreme weather, coupled with rising oil prices, increasing demand from population growth and changing diets in a global market made all the tighter by unsustainable biofuels policies."

here I can buy a lot of my food locally from local producers. There is minimal transport and zero packaging. I am sure that changing diets are a big factor, but people should, as they used to, eat-with-the-seasons. Must we have strawberries or melons in January ? Must we eat quite so much meat ?

and perhaps we could learn/re-learn basic cooking. Must so much be processed, prepared, pre-cooked ?

and above all, we in the West should not waste so much food.

it would be a start.
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Postby SDR » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:27 pm

I heard an interesting statistic on PBS radio a couple of weeks ago: in America 25% of all food is thrown away uneaten. The source was not given.

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Recycle everything but....

Postby Ed Ziomek » Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:35 pm

Steve, Rich, Kevin...

Let me go down the list of recyclables...

My friend from college, Eli Demerson is/was an Engineer and he was involved I believe, in the recycling of Atomic bomb materials... (fact!).

And I know that grease from restaurants is collected in bins and recycled as a bio fuel... (fact!)

And most definitly we should not be using food products for ethanol production, when garbage, plastics, even wood chips can be used.

And I know of excess electrical energy is used in some hydro plants to pump water that runs the turbines, BACK into the higher elevation water dams, for further energy production when needed...

Human waste waters are in some wonderful instances flushed into natural bio-plant areas, swamp like systems, for natural processing back into the ocean systems.

Certainly animal waste products are re-used in the production of fertilizers...

Tires, batteries, plastics, insecticides, in many instances, have found recycle procedures and paths, in forward thinking municipalities.

I pass a beachfront landfill area, probably 20 acres of a hill on the City line (not telling you where), surrounded by a barbed wire fence, where you can't walk, can't smoke, can't climb, which is tapped for its methane gases, which will probably be dug up in 50 years. These landfills are now banned in Europe.

And of course, as I mentioned to Rich Haut, there is a million square miles of Pacific Ocean "swirl" that is a catch-all for uncountable thousands of tons of floating plastic, the residue is decomposing and ingesting into bird and fish life, which I say alternatively can be heated up to produce plastic tarp material for protecting the citrus crops from frost.

There are things we have done, there is so much we haven't done, and there is so much more we can do.

Step one CERTAINLY should be...

Do you think it might be time to write a NATIONAL LAW, demanding the collection and re-use of unused FOOD products, for consumption, for animal food, or just fertilizer? Isn't that a common sense thing to do?

If we mention problems, can we also suggest solutions?

And great to hear from all of you again.
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An interesting viewpoint from a Taiwanese

Postby Ed Ziomek » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:44 am

A Taiwan passenger gave me an interesting perspective, and he first cautioned me that "I am not a financial genius, and I do not understand financial instruments at all, but persons in my country are explaining to me...

'Your Federal Reserve is printing so much money that the value of the Dollar is going down. Commodities, food and oil products, are sold in markets all over the world, with the US Dollar as the currency, but as the value of the dollar goes down, commodity goods prices go up. If you see everything going up in price, it is a direct reflection of the value of the US Dollar going down, and it hurts people overseas even more than it hurts you. But I don't really understand these financial things either.'"

Again, I suppose this is OBVIOUS to persons who understand financial instruments, the US currency and the Fed, and Commodities markets around the world. I personally understand none of it.
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Postby Richard Haut » Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:16 am

Ed

I shall explain the mysteries of macro-economic complexity and financial instruments:

paper money was originally invented by a man in China - he was hanged.

why ?

he produced some extra "samples" for himself.

Save the trees - close the Fed
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