World Food Crisis

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  • Topic: Food security, World population, Famine
  • Pages : 5 (1328 words )
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  • Published : October 24, 2011
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H.W. Assignment

World Food Crisis




Food is the foundation of human live and people cannot survive without it. Food security is a vital issue facing the governments around the world. However, food shortage is becoming increasingly severe in this day and age. There are several reasons which led to the universal food shortage and they are interconnected to each other. Increasing world population, extreme weather and the wide spread use of biofuels are the main causes of worldwide shortage of food. These factors lead to food price rises rapidly.

Global food crisis is being compounded by several causes such as growing population, extreme weather and famers switching out of cereals to grow agro-fuels crops. According to Vidal (2007), “There is no one cause but a lot of things are coming together to lead to this. It’s hard to separate out the factors.” Global population is continuing growing nowadays; Eating habits are changed in many regions all over the world, especially in China and India; Extreme weather is caused by global climate anomaly which is related droughts and floods in many key production regions, such as a years-long drought in Australia; The wider use of agro-fuel led to divert food crops to grow biofuels crops; Agriculture costs are much higher, which are caused by soaring oil price, limited farmland and water.

Population growth is one of the most important causes of food shortage. According to Gritzner and Charles (2010, 60), “By mid-century there will be some 9 billion people—an increase of 2 billion more people than today—eating at the global dining table.”   This means that demand for food will continue to increase over the coming decade.

Fact is, the food crisis of 2008 never really went away.

True, food riots didn’t break out in poor countries during 2009 and warehouse stores like Costco didn’t ration 20-pound bags of rice…but supply remained tight.

Prices for basic foodstuffs like corn and wheat remain below their 2008 highs. But they’re a lot higher than they were before “the food crisis of 2008” took hold. Here’s what’s happened to some key farm commodities so far in 2010… Corn: Up 63%

Wheat: Up 84%
Soybeans: Up 24%
Sugar: Up 55%

What was a slow and steady increase much of the year has gone into overdrive since late summer. Blame it on two factors… Aug. 5: A failed wheat harvest prompted Russia to ban grain exports through the end of the year. Later in August, the ban was extended through the end of 2011. Drought has wrecked the harvest in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan – home to a quarter of world production Oct. 8: For a second month running, the Agriculture Department cut its forecast for US corn production. The USDA predicts a 3.4% decline from last year. Damage done by Midwestern floods in June was made worse by hot, dry weather in August.

America’s with year after year of “record harvests,” depending on how you measure it. So when crisis hits elsewhere in the world, the burden of keeping the world fed falls on America’s shoulders.

According to Soren Schroder, CEO of the food conglomerate Bunge North America, US grain production has filled critical gaps in world supply three times in the last five years, including this summer… In 2010, when drought hit Russian wheat

In 2009, when drought hit Argentine soybeans
In 2007–08, when drought hit Australian wheat

So what happens when those “record harvests” no longer materialize?

In September, the US Department of Agriculture estimated that global grain “carryover stocks” – the amount in the world’s silos and stockpiles when the next harvest begins – totaled 432 million tons.

That translates to 70 days of consumption. A month earlier, it was 71 days. The month before that, 72. At this rate, come...
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