Title and Notes (if any) *Title from filename
||Lowest Food Supplies In 50-100 Years
- USDA predicts supplies
will plunge to a 53-day equivalent- their lowest level in the 47-year period
for which data exists
- This consistent shortfall has cut supplies in half-down from a 115-day
supply in 1999/00 to the current level of 53 days
- 1/3 of ocean fisheries are in collapse, 2/3 will be in collapse by
2025, and our ocean fisheries may be virtually gone by 2048
- There is a worldwide
push to proliferate a North American- style meat-based diet based on intensive
livestock production -turning feedgrains into meat in this way means exchanging
3 to 7 kilos of grain protein for one kilo of meat protein.
||Surplus U.S. food supplies dry up
- , "Our cupboard is bare."
- Worldwide, food prices have risen 45% in the past nine months
- John Block who, as President
Reagan's Agriculture secretary during the 1980s, went to enormous lengths
to get rid of extra food: giving commodities to farmers as payment for idling
land, offering surplus grain as a subsidy to exporters and holding cheese
giveaways for the poor.
- 24 million
bushels of wheat
- original 147-million-bushel
- Total U.S. wheat stocks are down from 777 million bushels in
- he American Bakers Association estimates
the country has a 24-day supply of wheat compared with the previous three-month
level on hand.
- The U.S. in the last year provided more than
$2 billion in foreign food aid.
||C C Cinventories Depleting
- oncerns over the issue of U.S. grain reserves
after it was announced that the sale of 18.37 million bushels of wheat from
USDAs Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC
- only 5.73 million bushels of wheat left the entire CCC
- U.S. has nothing else in our emergency food
- There is no cheese, no butter, no dry milk powder,
no grains or anything else left in reserve.
- The only
thing left in the entire CCC inventory will be 5.73 million bushels of wheat
which is about enough wheat to make about 1/2 of a loaf of bread for each
of the 300 million people in America.
- This lack of emergency preparedness is the fault of the 1996
farm bill which eliminated the governments grain reserves as well as
the Farmer Owned Reserve (FOR),
||Speculators Buying Up Food System
funds and other investors are buying up farms, farmland, fertilizer, grain
elevators, shipping equipment and other necessities for producing
- "By 'owning structure,' they mean centralizing control of food in
the hands of financial manipulators who have only one crop in mind: fat
- Price? Aha! Thats what consolidation of farms and storage
facilities is all about. If you can lock down production and stockpile the
supply you can control price. If corn prices are lower than what investors
want them to be, simply store the corn and force prices up.
- Hedge funds bring nothing but greed and grief to the farm economy
and our food supply, and they should be banned from 'owning
- we should demand that Congress prevent
speculators from buying up one of the main necessities.
||Financial Meltdown Worsens Food Crisis
- s shock waves from the credit crisis began to spread
around the world last month, scrambled to protect itself. Among the most
extreme measures it took was to impose new export taxes to keep critical
supplies such as grains and fertilizer from leaving the country.
- The estimates that 923 million people were seriously undernourished
- 36 countries still need emergency assistance for food
- China -- the world's biggest grain and rice producer and the biggest
exporter of certain types of fertilizer -- could see its moves having ripple
effects on vulnerable countries.
- China's new taxes on fertilizer exports, which went into effect Sept.
1, range from 150 to 185 percent.
- It is unclear whether the export taxes are legal under the . Technically,
the WTO bans all export taxes as barriers to free trade but allows for exceptions
in emergency situations.
||The ultimate crop rotation: Wealthy nations outsource crops to Ethiopia's farmlands
- Lured by a new business model, wealthy nations flock to farmland
in Ethiopia, locking in food supplies grown half a world away
- "Why Attractive?" reads one glossy poster with photos of green fields
and a map outlining swaths of the country available at bargain-basement prices.
"Vast, fertile, irrigable land at low rent. Abundant water resources. Cheap
labor. Warmest hospitality.
- This impoverished and chronically food-insecure Horn of Africa nation
is rapidly becoming one of the world's leading destinations for the booming
business of land leasing, by which relatively rich countries and investment
firms are securing 40-to-99-year contracts to farm vast tracts of
- In Africa alone, experts estimate that
about 50 million acres -- roughly the size of Nebraska -- have been leased
in the past two years.
- The desert kingdom of
, for instance, is shifting wheat production to
Africa. The government of
, where land is crowded and overfarmed, is offering incentives
to companies to carve out mega farms across the continent.
- As one Saudi-backed
businessman here put it, "The population of the world is increasing dramatically,
so land and food supplies will be short, demand will be higher and prices
- From there -- a farm just west of Addis Ababa -- it was possible
to see a river designated for irrigating cornfields and rice paddies; it
is no longer open for locals to water their cows. Several shiny green tractors
bounced across the six-mile-long field where teff, the local grain, once
grew. Hundreds of Ethiopian workers, overseen by Indian supervisors, were
bent over rows of corn stalks, cutting weeds tangled around them with small
- As a worker spoke to one of his supervisors, he whispered that the
company had refused to sign a wage contract and had failed to deliver promised
water and power to nearby villages.
- Most said they were
struggling just to buy government-subsidized fertilizer, much less tractors.
In any case, Ethiopians cannot own land, instead holding "use certificates"
for their tiny plots, making it difficult to get loans, or to sell or increase
- "We think they might be beneficial to us in the future," said Yadeta
Fininsa, referring to the new companies coming to town. "But so far we have
not benefited anything."