The End of Cheap Food

Page 1 of 3  
Suck it up. Here goes more of your already reduced income.
Thank goodness there is no such thing as hunger and starvation in the u$ of a.
Only "food insufficiency".
We ain't seen nothin' yet, folks.
Charlie _______________________________ http://countercurrents.org/james040807.htm
The End Of Cheap Food
By John James
04 August,2007 Countercurrents.org
It looks like the era of cheap food is over. The price of maize has doubled in a year, and wheat futures are at their highest in a decade. The food price index in India has risen 11%, and in Mexico in January there were riots after the price of corn flour went up fourfold. The floods in England and India have devastated crops. In nearly every country food prices are going up, and they are probably not going to come down again.
Before World War II, most families spent a third or more of their income on food, as the poor majority in developing countries still do. But after the war a series of radical changes, from mechanisation to the green revolution, raised agricultural productivity hugely and caused a long, steep fall in the price of food, to a tenth of many people’s income.
It will probably return to a quarter of a family's income within a decade, or higher, from four factors:
1) Demand as global population continues to grow and more people want to eat more meat. Early this month, in its annual assessment of farming trends, the UN predicted that in less than 10 years people in the developing countries will be eating 30% more beef, 50% more pig meat and 25% more poultry. With lot-feeding huge amounts of grain-growing land will move from human to animal consumption.
2) Global warming lowers crop yields: see the chart on the right. Christopher Field and David Lobell in Environmental Research Letters in March stated that for every 0.5°C temperature rise, crop yields fall between 3 and 5%. So 2°C hotter means a 12 to 20% fall in global food production just as the population is about to surge over the 7 billion mark.
3) Rising demand for biofuels replaces food production (see "Looming disaster", right), causing food price hikes that lead to social unrest, such as the recent riots in Mexico. This should be taken in context: a massive report by the major oil companies warns that oil supplies will peak within 8 years, if not sooner. It estimates that production from existing reserves would soon start declining by 3% pa even as world demand for oil is growing by 2% pa. In order to keep the driving public from facing reality politicians will take the easy road and legislate to use more land for biofuels.
4) Desertification, especially in the Sahara and Central Asia (see map below), is undermining food production for one third of humanity. Tree planting is not the answer as it puts more pressure on already-scarce water. Their food will have to be provided by just those breadbasket countries now turning to biofuels. “It creates a chain reaction that must lead to social turmoil”, Zafaar Adeel, author of the UN food report.
looming biofuels disaster
Biofuel production is pushing huge amounts of land out of food production. One sixth of the grain grown in the US this year will be "industrial corn" for ethanol. One third of US maize is now used for biofuel and there was last year a 48% increase in the amount of farmland devoted to biofuels. During that time hardly any new land was brought under the plough to replace the lost food production.
There is only a difference in scale in China, Indonesia and Brazil where primary forests are being cleared to plant energy crops. Yet, after fossil fuel use, deforestation is the largest single source of CO2.
The competition for water is likely to favour the biofuel producers as their crop, being subsidised, commands higher prices than corn or soya. Ethanol has roughly 70% the energy content of gasoline while costing 40% more to produce.
In Australia, if all our wheat and sugar output was diverted to ethanol it would supply less than 30% of our fuel needs. As these crops now feed 80 million people, what will they eat instead?
It is argued that Australia could increase its biofuel capacity by using marginal land, but Mick Keogh, executive director of the Australian Farm Institute, said: "A close examination of global biofuel experiences shows they are only viable with high levels of government support, and have at best a limited capacity to meet future energy needs."
The attraction of biofuels for politicians is obvious: they can claim they are doing something useful to combat global warming without demanding any sacrifices from business or the voters. For voters the attraction is that they can continue to drive their cars without a thought for the consequences. The attraction for business is that they can make lots of money out of biofuels, and be subsidised to do so.
A straight switch is happening from food to fuel. As oil prices rise - and Peak Oil guarantees they will - it pulls up the price of biofuels as well, so it becomes more attractive for farmers to switch from food to fuel.
Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute says: "The stage is now set for frontal competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world's two billion poorest who will need it to survive."
The real answer is to consume less, drive less and to fund high-tech hybrid and electric cars so we dont panic for ethanol as oil production declines. Let's not forget that ethanol is NOT a renewable product: just consider the fuel and water required to produce and distribute it, and the clearing of the forests to grow it that is now releasing huge amounts of CO2.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charlie wrote:

The Lord loves farmers and stupid people. Farmers (make that big ag business) are getting rich and all the stupid people (who the Lord made plenty of) are falling for the biofuel crap. Frank
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What ticks me off about this is that biofuel does NOT need to be made from food crops! It can be made from the waste products of food crops. Corn STALKS, not corn!
What would be even more efficient would be sugar cane.
--
Peace, Om

Remove _ to validate e-mails.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Omelet wrote:

There may be a day when biofuels are economical but what is screwing up the whole thing is the fine hand of government with their subsidies and laws. What it amounts to is taking money out of tax payer pockets and giving it to ag business. This results in higher food costs to the tax payer. The tax payer is not saving any money in reduced fuel costs. The same fine folks in congress that have done this have enacted a high tariff on ethanol imports to prevent import of cheaper Brazilian ethanol where production processes are more economical.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
here is hoping there is an end to the corn subsidies then. and the end of cheap sugar for junk food that has lowered the projected life span of our citizens due to obesity. Ingrid
wrote:

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 05 Aug 2007 09:55:03 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.com wrote:

Good observation. We were talking about a related result, that people may be forced to prepare more of their own food, from basic and raw ingredients, and may grow more of their own, thus leading to a healthier life.
It's not just the corn syrup and junk sugar, many packaged chip-type junks may be eliminated. Friggin' soft drink consumption may go down.
You are right, there may a a positive side to this, for the portion of the world that is accustomed to and dependant upon abundance and excess.
Still, it doesn't justify pouring the last few inches of topsoil into our fuel tanks.
Care Charlie
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If my memory serves me well.
Ethanol has a number like 1.2 to generate 1 equivalent of oil gas. Then as Charlie pointed out there is soil loss. It takes about one bushel of soil to make one bushel of corn. So we are losing valuable commodity potential for food and shelter etc.
Bill hope you can wade thru below.
......................
http://www.google.com/search?q=soil+lost&hl=en&start &sa=N
On page #2 look at
[PPT] PowerPoint Presentation - Slide 1
It has this info as a PDF download and my Mac can't copy it. But I could download and read it. Slide # 28 is the damming info.
I'd post it but is a Binarie.
--

S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
http://www.ocutech.com/ High tech Vison aid
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

Should have included
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/fuel_economy/ethanol-frequently-aske d-questions.html
or
http://preview.tinyurl.com/pzadr
Bill
--

S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
http://www.ocutech.com/ High tech Vison aid
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Replace solar with nuclear in your argument, perfesser, and you may have something there. It's been staring us in the face for a few billion years. BTW, how's Chernobyl and Three Mile Island working out?

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

How would 9/11 have worked out, had the planes been flown into nuclear power plants?
Janet.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

What if:
A meteor hits Manhattan An earthquake swallows all of southern CA A solar flare burns all the vegetation off the earth.
What if..........
How long do you want to play that game?
Get on with life.
But to answer the question.........with a lot fewer deaths, very little radiation exposure, and.......ya gotta find them first.
cheers
oz
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

.......see Billy re: education spiral
>and you may have

I agree, it is a great technology for Vegas and Phoenix, maybe Denver. Sucks for Boston, NYC, etc. Google up some studies that start with mining the elements, and end with the receptacle in your wall. (horribly toxic byproducts in solar cell production) I use it. Have for years. But I live in the boonies, and have lived rural most of my adult life. Tough for rabbit warren people in Baltimore.

Chernobyl is / was an anomaly. TMI is just fine, but the CL's don't want you to think so. For details, see previous post.
oz, who damn near melted at Baker Creek, but got in some good licks
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What an unintentionally delicate way of referring to such a diabolical liar! Fertilizer company. Charming. I call a spade a spade, and that mofo and his cronies comprise a bullshit megaconglomerate if there ever was one.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Words to live by.
Did you have anything to do with the naming of the wine that has been found to aid guys in my age group with prostate problems. It is called: l l l l S C R O L L l l l I I I I I
Pinot More
cheers
oz
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

Sugar Cane grows just fine in Louisiana (I've see the fields there in person) and could also be grown in Florida, and other states in the deep south. South Texas should support it too.
--
Peace, Om

Remove _ to validate e-mails.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

If you mug on a grand enough scale, you won't end up in the slammer.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

LOL LOL
Truth does hurt.
Bill
--

S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade

Balgreen Portal to the Souther Realm
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It takes only 12 beets to make one pound of sugar. In addition to granulated white sugar, sugar beets are made into various sugar products, including brown sugar and confectioner's, or powdered, sugar. Beet pulp, a sugar beet by-product, is processed into cattle feed. Molasses, another by-product, is used to make citric acid, vinegar, yeast, antibiotics and other products.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Beet sugar is toxic to hummingbirds. It kills them.
Makes me wonder how safe it is for me...
--
Peace, Om

Remove _ to validate e-mails.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.