From: Andy Soos, ENN
Published October 15, 2012 08:14 AM

Food Free Days

Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells in an effort to produce energy, maintain life, or stimulate growth. For those in developed countries it is a problem of overeating. In the less developed countries it is a matter of starvation. World grain prices have risen so high that families in poorer countries are being forced to schedule food-free days each week, according to one of the leading experts on global agriculture. The extreme rationing is an "an unprecedented manifestation of food stress," according to Lester Brown, president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, and the most respected environmental observer of food and agricultural trends.


orld food prices increased dramatically in 2007 and the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2008 creating a global crisis and causing political and economical instability and social unrest in both poor and developed nations. Although the media spotlight focused on the riots that ensued in the face of high prices, the ongoing crisis of food insecurity has been years in the making.

Systemic causes for the worldwide increases in food prices continue to be the subject of debate. After peaking in the second quarter of 2008 prices fell dramatically during the Late-2000s recession but increased during 2009 and 2010, peaking again in early 2011 at a level sightly higher than the level reached in 2008.

Britain’s own 2012 wheat harvest is down by nearly 15 per cent after the wettest summer for a century, with analysts warning the shortage will push domestic food prices up still further, not least because the cost of grain feed largely determines the price of poultry and livestock such as pigs. Yet Britain’s situation is only part of a global process which is seeing grain prices rise to the highest level on record, causing enormous difficulties for poorer people in developing countries, where food typically accounts for 50-70 per cent of family spending, compared to an average of around ten per cent in the West.

The biggest driver of recent increases has been the catastrophic drought in the US this summer, which cut the harvest of corn (what we in Britain call maize) by 13 per cent; and the shortage is combined with the increase in demand for corn to make biofuels – as of this year, more corn now goes into ethanol production in America than goes into animal feed. The US is dominant in food/grain production in the world so when that production is down it affects the world.

For further information see Brown.

Food image via Wikipedia.


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