Have you noticed the prices of food in grocery stores lately? Last night, in my local grocery store, I noticed that steak was at $10 to $12 per pound, and some vegetables are not even being priced "per pound" anymore, but rather being priced "each". At these prices, a "double Whopper" could cost $16 if priced accordingly.
This matter of food prices and food shortages is world wide. Just today, there were massive shortages of rice reported in the Philippines, once an exporter of rice. This month the Philippines failed to secure enough rice to boost its inventories, leading to suggestions that the market was heading for a period of heightened volatility.
Traders offered to sell the country only 325,000 tons, when it wanted 550,000. The average offered price, of nearly $680 a ton, was up more than 40 per cent from January. A spokesman for the Philippines National Food Authority said: “Our population is growing and arable land is being converted to other uses, so we cannot cope with demand.”
Similar trends have emerged in other big rice-consuming countries, including China, where large amounts of farmland have been turned to industrial use. Countries such as India have placed restrictions on exports. The US Department of Agriculture has given warning that more such curbs are expected and it predicts that global stocks will fall to about 70 million tons this year, their lowest since the early 1980s and half the level of those in 2000.
The United Nations has called for richer nations to assist Bangladesh, where 40 per cent of people live below the poverty line, in tackling surging prices of foodstuffs. It said that poor households in the country spend nearly 70 per cent of their income on food.
The rising cost of food in the world has been caused by numerous factors
- Including costs of labor
- Rising costs for energy
- Fertilizer costs increasing
- Rising land costs.
- Less land available because of development
- Climate change and lower yields as a result
Throughout the world, farmers report similar experiences and challenges.
With the advent of Ethanol, and other alternative "grain consuming" energy alternatives, farm products are rising in price, and farm lands are also becoming appealing investments as land prices rise. Nations like India, China and other nations report that there is less farmland, because it has been converted to development or industrial use, while nations such as the USA ignore diminishing farm lands and seem to encourage more development.
The world is beginning to recognize that food indeed is becoming a rarer commodity and those involved in food production, if wise, should be able to reap good returns for their investment and labor.