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Senior Advisor

What's wrong with this story?

I have kept track of these trends. They are true, as much as I know about them.


I don't want the snarky, too easy, political 'easy answers'.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100607/ap_on_re_as/going_hungry;_ylt=ApnN8YFkls6OcCKPaairdbus0NUE;_ylu=...

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17 Replies
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Senior Contributor

Re: What's wrong with this story?

It is a sad state of affairs when our prices are almost 1/2 in corn and 40% lower in beans, and products overseas has stayed the same for the middle class of these countries.  The dollar rising has really hurt them.   Maybe every country needs a fixed currency and no more currency floating or movement that can cause such burdens to poorer families. 

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Veteran Contributor

Re: What's wrong with this story?

Nothing is "wrong" with the story. What do you want me to say? It is based on facts. The "problem" with the story is that the American public will once again read it and vent on the US farmer. The american farmer will then vent on their commodity groups to do something. In reality we all know the true story.....politics and corporate greed are the driving forces behind this scenerio and there is very little you and I can do about it.

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Honored Advisor

Re: What's wrong with this story?

I'll agree with you that the data is real. And, you will be surprised but I will agree with you on about 100% of the causes. And I'll agree with Patriot that there is nothing wrong with the article.

 

This is the data set that I feel proves that all the population growth forecasts are wrong. Pop growth is/will come to a halt very quickly and all the data on feeding another 2 bil people will be just as bogus and the climate data. These are huge unknowns and will always be so. Pop growth growth has always followed food availability both up and down. Probably still wil but it is an unknown for lots of reasons.

 

The solutions are simple but no one wants to adopt them. Just as you can still start farming on your own with no family base today, folks could start a new America, it is just that no one wants to pay the price of being that uncivilized.

 

Also, isn't the data extremely highly correlated with currency valuations? As such, these are pretty easy to fix, just no one wants to make the sacrifices. Any country with a balanced budget right now would have a rock solid currency and thus declinng real food prices and virtually zero net interest rates.

 

Which brings me back to the fact that debt destroys freedom regardless of political system.

 

The take away for me is that the forecasts for food demand increases are very suspect and should not be the basis for investment calcs for ag.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: What's wrong with this story?

Time the tipping point you sure are agreeable today!Smiley Very HappyJR

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Frequent Contributor

This is a story

It is a story to make the food suppliers appear/feel guilty. It is a story to gain sympathy for poor countries. It is  story to make the writer feel good and appear knowledgeable.

 

The driving phrase "With food costing up to 70 percent of family income in the poorest countries, rising prices are squeezing household budgets and threatening to worsen malnutrition, while inflation stays moderate in the United States and Europe..."

 

UP FROM WHAT? Food cost in under developed countries has historically been high compared to the western countries. For almost all my life--over 65 years now--I have been told that most of the world is forced to spend almost all the family income for food.

 

Food costs in Pakistan cannot be all because of the exchange rate. From Jan08 to Jan10 the price of the Rupee has climbed from 75.28/1$, to 79.65/1$, for an increase of 4.4%. Now extended to today, May10, it has increased to 86.58/1$ for an increase of 11.3%. Our cost of food increase has almost equaled that!

 

The story points out that "No single factor explains the inflation gap between developing and developed countries but poorer economies are more vulnerable to an array of problems that can push up prices, and many are cropping up this year."

 

Most food crisis are caused by local political decisions rather than purely factors beyond their control.

 

I have empathy for their situation, but I can't figure any way the fault is with western civilization..

 


 


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Re: This is a story

Reminds of a joke I heard one time (even though starving and malnutrion are not a joke)...Headline of the New York Times..."Meteor set to destroy earth, the poor to suffer the most."

 

The poor always spend the most of their income on food, it has always been this way and will always be this way.  Food is a necessity, while everything else is not. 

 

I had the pleasure of meeting a PhD that spent his life teaching malnourished countries how to farm their ground in the most productive manner.  In his opinion, giving food/aid was the absolute worse way to stop starvation.  The giving of food lowers the incentive to develop their own production (floods the market with cheap food).  High food prices may actually stop starvation because of the economic incentive to get better (Some suffer in the short term for the greater good of the future generations).  It reminds me of the old proverb, "give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime." 

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Contributor

Re: What's wrong with this story?

I am an agriculturalist and served two years in Ghana, Africa. They have a high rainfall and can grow very good produce. The expansion opportunity is there but if they want to increase production they need government assistance to open more grassland into commercial production. You can't expand very much with a hoe and cutlass. They are not starving as people carry their surplus production many miles on their heads to a market. They should develop canneries or other types of processing plants. This should be a joint venture with a European country that can utilize the produce, be it fresh or processed. They also need the capital and the operating management.

The biggest problem for any country to get serious about working with the people is assurance of delivery. If Grandma passes away, there will be a funeral lasting three days. No harvesting of produce will be done even if the produce gets over ripe.

Another problem is the stability of the country. I saw complete cannery factories sitting on the seaport dock for several years. The overthrown dictator or leader had purchased this cannery and it was delivered but there was an overthrow of the government and the successor would not recognize the work of the previous leader, so a needed cannery sits.

 

China has shown the world if you want to develop fast then you must joint venture with established companies. This can also be the key for all Third World countries.

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Frequent Contributor

Re: What's wrong with this story?

This story is just another sob story. Its aimed at the U.S farmer for turning grain into biofuels and or holding on to his/her grain for a better price. Whoever wrote this story apparentlly dont know all the facts. I know this from personal experiece from serving a near year long tour in Afghanistan, one of the poorest and most malnutritioned countries in the world. Their problem isnt that they dont know how to grow crops, its lack of a basic education and a market place in wich to sell their grain. In this country we take for granted the local elevator. In these poor countries such as Afghanistan there isnt a place to buy fertilizer, high quality seed or chemicals to control weeds.... The infulstructure just isnt there. Before we let somebody attack the U.S farmer for being good at what he does or our desire to pursue alternative sources of fuel other than oil, or even think about changing our currency to help the poor nations in the world, lets look at the simple things first.

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Contributor

Re: What's wrong with this story?

A very good analysis. If you served in Afghanistan did you project what could be an income crop

rather than poppies and the drug trade. To develop an infrastructure I think joint ventures may be

the answer. I know those Third World countries like to do everything themsleves but with no experience

or education how can that be achieved successfully?

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