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29 December 2008 00:50:35 |News

World food shortage-what has gone wrong.

Its very hard to believe that in 1976 we had the famous Beef Mountain, Butter Mountain a Wine Lake and Milk Lake in Europe.
Beef was being subsidized and given to the Soviet Union, along with butter in the hundreds of thousands of tonnes. Milk was being poured down deserted mine shafts all over Europe and Apples and Plums were rotting by the train load as no one wanted them.
Every newspaper on a global basis has carried the story of the world food shortage for the last few months, CNN have set up a special web site with numerous versions of the root cause of the problem.
In 2003 the EU farm commission were concerned that there was an over production of rural products in the European Union, they decided to act on the problem.
In May 2005 farmers were to be paid, the average of the previous 5 years subsidy on corn of fattening cattle on condition that they did not keep any animals or plough a field , this payment system is in its third year next month and continues until the year 2112.
What used to known as the worlds great exporting countries are now importing countries and farmers are being paid in the EU, not to produce.
We now have to add the other factors, increased demand from emerging economies such as Russia, India and China that have blossomed from nowhere in the last ten years.
James Neilson raised a very valid point in the Buenos Aires Herald when he said "The greenbacks collapse (US Dollar) has contributed greatly to a commodity boom which would look far less impressive if the prices of grain, soybeans, oil and minerals were set in euros. And the great food crisis ,he adds has little to do with production ,which is at record levels ,and a great deal to do with money" Mr Neilson is indeed correct in relation to Latin America especially Brazil and Argentina and there is no doubt the decline of the dollar earlier in the year has caused many problems.
However the aforementioned facts along with facts like Peasants in China have not been growing rice for the last 5 years, only enough for their own requirements, until this year when the price they receive justifies the labor.
In Argentina we are slaughtering cattle at 350 kilos as opposed to the rest of the world at 650 kilos,
Pig Farmers from England Ireland and Australia have losing money hand over fist, because of the cost of feed and the demand for low prices in supermarkets.
Poultry Producers have gained immeasurably for whilst meat and bone meal has been banned in feed for cattle because of the threat of BSE mad cow disease. However it is still allowed to be fed to poultry. Whilst no proof has been established of a link between cooked By products and BSE, one can reasonably assume if humans can indeed become infected by beef they can as easily become infected by chicken.
There have been Food Riots in Egypt over the price of bread and the Police in fact baking 70,000 loaves a day in Cairo for the poor, Butchers shops in Egypt are turning over the same amount of money as last year but selling 50pc less beef.
From the worlds top 10 beef exporting countries 25 years ago, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe ,Romania and the old Yugoslavian nations have become beef importers on a very large scale.
In the last year since 2007 Corn prices went up 36pc, Rice has risen 75pc, Soymeal 87pc, in many countries bread has gone up 130pc in price, until the marker collapsed again two months ago.
Beef has been a luxury item in wealthy countries for many years, which has been compensated by the advent of processed foods, with the same protein at affordable prices such as burgers hot dogs and kebabs. However in the EU, they are now going to ban the use of mince beef or ground beef as they call it in the USA.
France has been used to high meat prices for many years, consequently they are big users of offal liver, heart, tripe tails head meat and lambs heads.
Robert Zoelick head of the World Bank, believes the current food crisis threatens Global security. However Josette Sheeran, director of the UN World Food Program, concurs with Mr Neilson and said last month "We are seeing a new face of global hunger, we are seeing food on the shelves, yet people are unable to afford it".
Recently in Australia farmers were complaining that they can buy their own beef cheaper in the supermarkets of the USA and Japan, than they can at home, despite the costs of shipping thousands of miles away and the additional refrigeration and packaging.
In Argentine we consume 69 kilos of beef per person per year, this is a staggering figure compared to the EU where consumption is 17.5 kilos .In Argentina as in France we also have a healthy appetite for offal.
We have seen in recent months India, Vietnam, Egypt and Brazil ban the export of Rice to conserve supplies for the domestic market, In Argentina we have banned export of beef and wheat for the same reasons.
There have been food riots in Egypt, Haiti, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Bangladesh and Vietnam, water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink, as it’s the price as much as the shortage causing the problem.
Is it a big problem to fix, indeed not, farming has always been feast or famine, ask any farmer in Outback Australia, who has to battle the elements of drought or floods.
In Australia during the late eighties and early nineties at the time of the wool mountain. The Hawke Government were giving farmers 20 cents for each sheep they had. This was the price of a government subsidized 22 bullet, in order to shoot there sheep at the governments cost then dig a hole to bury them. Millions of sheep were disposed of this way and today we have a food shortage.
Which came first the chicken or the egg, without the arable farmer tilling his corn, wheat, barley, maize or soybean we have no basic food for pigs, poultry and cattle, in the majority of countries where they have to be wintered in yards,
Man cannot live on bread alone, our farm animals cannot survive on grass alone only in exceptional countries in the Southern Hemisphere, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand. Whilst the framework is still in place in the African countries, politics has got in the way of farm production, until we can find a compromise between colonialism and nationalism .
The whole world situation can be turned around in under two years, this is physically possible if the politicians could see the wood for the trees.
The subsidy system has served the farmers of Europe and the USA well for the last 55 years, whilst the farmers of the Southern Hemisphere have had to battle on and farm every hectare to its best advantage, with no assistance through drought or flood except their tears and blood.


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