Quote of the day – August 22, 2012
The poor will suffer the third global food disaster in four years because the price of corn will push up the price of other food commodities, like wheat, soybeans and rice. This will push up food prices overall. So, if the 2008 and 2011 food price crises are any guide, the global effects of the U.S. drought are fairly predictable.
The bump in commodity prices will send a market signal for speculative investment, thus pushing the price of grain up even further. The countries with good harvests — or reserves — will use them to avoid buying grain on the global market and will institute export bans. Those countries with fragile regimes will be challenged to keep the price of food below the “riot” thresholds, and will direct food primarily to the cities. The highest prices will be in the countryside, where the rural poor will not be able to afford to buy food.
Some 50 percent of the planet’s hungry people are poor, smallholder farmers — mostly women and girls — eking out a subsistence on small parcels of land. They have no reserves and will be forced to buy expensive food for their families, precisely when they can least afford it.
The increase in food prices will also further increase the value of farmland and increase the financial pressure to drive smaller farmers off the land. Many will migrate. A few will find plantation jobs. All will likely go hungry.
- An excerpt from Eric Holt Gimenez’s article for the Huffington Post “The US Drought and Global Hunger: What We Know and What We Don’t “