Viewed in a different way, the crisis is genuine and potentially horrific. Galloping food prices tell the story. Thanks to two decades of scant investment in agriculture, soaring populations and the new protein-craving diets in the developing world, almost every food commodity is up by triple-digit rates in the past two years. In the first three months of this year alone, the FAO food-price index rose 53 per cent over the same period in 2007.
The brutal truth is that the world has consumed more food than it has produced for the past eight years. Global stocks for rice and soya, the staple foods for billions of people, have fallen to 10 to 15 per cent of annual consumption from about 20 per cent (the stock-to-use ratio). In other words, the world is no more than two months - a month short of the next harvest - from running out of food.
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4 years ago