Sunday, May 30, 2010

Behold A Black Horse - Agricultural Apocalypse 2010?

Behold A Black Horse - Agricultural Apocalypse 2010?


When a large segment of the population is facing a drastic cut in income in the face of escalating food prices we have a catastrophic problem in the making. Today we have the simultaneous events of income deflation and food inflation; two high-speed express trains coming down that tracks at each other, a financial crisis colliding with staggering crop losses, which are cutting deeply into available planetary food reserves. Prices of food are again beginning to soar again just as millions are losing the ability to afford a reasonable diet, though little of this is being observed or reported. But soon even the blind will see.

From corn to crude, prices for a wide range of commodities are on the rise across the globe. In recent months, global food prices have been growing at a rate that rivals some of the wildest monthsof 2008, when food riots erupted across the developing world. - January 9th Wall Street Journal

The cold is again freezing oranges in Florida. Temperatures in Miami dropped to 36F; beating the record 37F set in 1938. Officials are saying that hundreds of millions of dollars of food perished. Vegetables were among the hardest hit. At least one major tomato grower, Ag-Mart Produce, has already declared that most of its Florida crop is “useless due to the freeze.” Other vegetable farms were expected to lose their entire crop, and wholesale prices have already increased. “Tomatoes were down around $14 for a 25-pound box; now they are up over $20,” said Gene McAvoy, an agriculture expert with the University Florida, who predicted $100 million in vegetable losses. “Peppers — just after New Year’s they were $8 a box; now they’re up around $18.”

White sugar climbed to the highest price in at least two decades in London on speculation that India, Pakistan and other importers will purchase more of the sweetener as a supply deficit looms. Excess rains in Brazil and a weak monsoon in India hurt sugar-cane output from the world’s two biggest growers. - January 20, 2010

The world faces “mass starvation” following North America’s next major crop failure. And it could even happen before year’s end. So says Chicago-based Don Coxe, who is one of the world’s leading experts on agricultural commodities, so much so that Canada’s renowned BMO Financial Group named the fund after him. A crop failure in North America will have particularly dire consequences for major overseas markets that are highly reliant on U.S. crop imports.

Scientists in England are warning that a “perfect storm” of food shortages and water scarcity now threatens to unleash public unrest and conflict, the government’s chief scientist, Professor John Beddington, has warned. “People do not quite realise the scale of the issue,” said Professor Mike Bevan. “This is one of the most serious problems that science has ever faced.” In Britain the lives of hundreds of thousands of people will be threatened by food shortages. The repercussions of food shortages for any society are devastating. The world faces “mass starvation” following more major crop failures in the United States and other places around the globe.

We are facing a problem that literally has never been faced in human history. Surging population and food demand, food inflation, diminishing world food stocks, drought, flooding, cold, diminished credit, infestations, soil erosion, industrial farming, factory farm pollution, aquifers/wells going dry, relocation of produce for energy production are all slamming into a global financial and economic crisis. And in some places like the United States they don’t have enough farmers. Then on top of everything else we have desertification, which is one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues. New deserts are growing at a rate of 20,000 square miles (51,800 square kilometers) a year. Desertification leads to famine, mass starvation and human migration.

According to Eric de Carbonnel, “There is overwhelming, undeniable evidence that the world will run out of food next year. The 2010 Food Crisis is going to be different. It is the crisis that will make all doomsday scenarios come true. Early in 2009, the supply and demand in agricultural markets went badly out of balance. The world experienced a catastrophic fall in food production as a result of the financial crisis (low commodity prices and lack of credit) and adverse weather on a global scale. Normally food prices should have already shot higher months ago, leading to lower food consumption and bringing the global food supply/demand situation back into balance. This never happened because the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), instead of adjusting production estimates down to reflect decreased production, adjusted estimates upwards to match increasing demand from china. In this way, the USDA has brought supply and demand back into balance (on paper) and temporarily delayed a rise in food prices by ensuring a catastrophe in 2010.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture U.S. farmers produced the largest corn and soybean crops on record in 2009. And there are people who believe that anyone who believes government figures on anything concerning the economy or anything else is out to lunch.

Very few people in the US have given any serious consideration to the question of food security. This essay should convince people that its time to start. For the most part, we’re not aware of the problem but if we look hard at the ‘hidden’ news we see that the handwriting is on the wall for an unimaginable crisis that will come on us as early as this year.

More than 2.1 million hectares of grain have been destroyed by drought in 2009 in Russia, Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik said. A total of 616,000 hectares have been destroyed in the region, or 70% of the total amount planted.

“The world is blissfully unaware that the greatest economic, financial and political crisis ever is a few months away. It takes only the tiniest bit of research to realize something is going critically wrong in the agricultural market. All someone needs to do to know the world is headed for food crisis is to stop reading USDA’s crop reports predicting a record soybean and corn harvests and listen to what else the USDA is saying.

Specifically, the USDA has declared half the counties in the Midwest to be primary disaster areas, including 274 counties in the last 30 days alone. These designations are based on the criteria of a minimum of 30 percent loss in the value of at least one crop in the county,” continues de Carbonnel.

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