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 Rice Crisis

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PostSubject: Rice Crisis   Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:43 pm

It's about time I mentioned this. It probably belongs in world affairs but this forum is a little sparse.

The price of rice has been steadily increasing for some time now. Almost half the world's population is dependent on it. Countries such as India, Bangladesh and the Phillipines are growing increasingly tense. Reasons behind the price rise are simple enough: bad crops, rising demand, and less land being used for rice production.

In our talk of the likelihood of India becoming a superpower, this subject was neglected, despite being the greatest obstacle. Agriculture is being ignored, not only in the East but around the world, while the world population increases.I don't want to get all Malthusian on ye, but developments in agriculture haven't kept abreast of growth rates. A century of ideology hasn't helped either.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:50 pm

I was listening to BBC Radio 4 the other week and heard that the potato is rapidly overtaking Rice as the staple for vast areas of China. China is now the world's largest producer of potatoes and consumption has risen 40 per cent over the past couple of years.

Then I got out of the car and never got to hear why that is... are the Chinese merely changing their culinary tastes or is the potato becoming a more suitable and stable crop?
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:53 pm

China is widening its palate, with the rise in the middle class there. But this might be a reflection of the price of rice. Either way it's good news, spuds are supposed to be better crops.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:55 pm

905 wrote:
Either way it's good news, spuds are supposed to be better crops.

They're certainly very good for you. If you eat enough of certain species of potato to satisfy your necessary intake of carbohydrates you also satisfy your intake of protein.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:35 pm

This has been covered quite a bit here including on the Food Watch thread, which is not about recipes but food prices and supply.

A number of countries have banned food (rice) exports in the last few months and others are trying to negotiate supplies with the US.

There is a massive food supply crunch coming that will affect all of us - we are far from self sufficient in Ireland.
Food stocks are down to lower than any time in the last 30 years and population still growing rapidly.

All parties in Ireland should be sitting in emergency session trying to work out how we can sustainably boost our food production both for home consumption and export.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:55 pm

From this mornings guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/apr/11/worldbank.fooddrinks1

If we are going to go down the biofuels route - we have to find a way to make biofuels out of our own waste. Replacing fossil fuels with food crops will only mean starvation for many.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:00 pm

cactus flower wrote:
This has been covered quite a bit here including on the Food Watch thread, which is not about recipes but food prices and supply.

A number of countries have banned food (rice) exports in the last few months and others are trying to negotiate supplies with the US.

There is a massive food supply crunch coming that will affect all of us - we are far from self sufficient in Ireland.
Food stocks are down to lower than any time in the last 30 years and population still growing rapidly.

All parties in Ireland should be sitting in emergency session trying to work out how we can sustainably boost our food production both for home consumption and export.

Right, and you never thought to mention that in the 'why is everyone growing their own food nowadays?' thread?

I guess all this doesn't bode well for the WTO. Anyone know their response?
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:05 pm

Edo wrote:
From this mornings guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/apr/11/worldbank.fooddrinks1

If we are going to go down the biofuels route - we have to find a way to make biofuels out of our own waste. Replacing fossil fuels with food crops will only mean starvation for many.
This article is more about Western concerns about fuel price compared to global concerns about starvation than biofeuls. It's not generally thought that biofuel production is adding to the problem in a significant manner (it's not helping though).

Biofuel has led to an increase in the price of wheat and milk, but I doubt it affects rice to any great degree. But then, wheat prices affect rice.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:00 pm

905 wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
This has been covered quite a bit here including on the Food Watch thread, which is not about recipes but food prices and supply.

A number of countries have banned food (rice) exports in the last few months and others are trying to negotiate supplies with the US.

There is a massive food supply crunch coming that will affect all of us - we are far from self sufficient in Ireland.
Food stocks are down to lower than any time in the last 30 years and population still growing rapidly.

All parties in Ireland should be sitting in emergency session trying to work out how we can sustainably boost our food production both for home consumption and export.

Right, and you never thought to mention that in the 'why is everyone growing their own food nowadays?' thread?

I guess all this doesn't bode well for the WTO. Anyone know their response?

Not sure of youre point there, 905. This was the thread I was thinking of, and another one on Food Security on P.ie.

http://machinenation.forumakers.com/politics-and-current-news-f4/the-end-of-food-security-pricing-the-poor-out-of-the-food-t51.htm

It is difficult to get people to take this seriously - discussion veers either onto the "isn't it nice to grow your own" end of things, or to critiques that "people have been starving all the time and your only bothered about it now it is going to affect you". I think it needs to move on from that to acknowledging a massive problem coming (as Zhou did on P.ie) and deciding to start doing something about it now, not when millions, or billions of people are dead.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:16 pm

Todays Independent - (the good one)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/the-other-global-crisis-rush-to-biofuels-is-driving-up-price-of-food-808138.html

Quote :
Worldwide, an area of fertile soil the size of Ukraine is lost every
year because of drought, deforestation and climate instability.


If that above statement is not give you a serious case of the shits - what will?

The credit crisis is just a bunch of idiotic bankers and even more guillable consumers - this is the big one and this could lead to the biggest bout of global political change since the Cold war and those cold war warriors and all that end of history shite are going to find out that history is returning with a vengence.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:59 pm

I RAISED THIS ON ER ANOTHER SITE LAST YEAR UNDER 'THE COMING FOOD CRISES' IIRC.

PRICE OF FOOD WORLDWIDE IS GOING UP AND UP AND UNLIKE OIL PRICE RISES HAD NOT REALLY BEEN FORESEEN - THIS COULD CATCH A LOT OF GOVERNMENTS ON THE HOP.

WE ARE ALREADY SEEING THE EFFECTS HERE RE HIGHER FOOD PRICES IN THE SHOPS. NOW WHILE I DON'T THINK ANYONE IS GOING STARVE TO DEATH ANYWHERE NEAR THESE PARTS ITS GOING TO CUT DEEPER INTO MOST FAMILIES POCKETS TO PUT THE READIES ON THE KITCHEN TABLE.

WHICH REMINDS ME THERE'S A BOWL OF RICE DOWNSTAIRS THAT HAS TO BE USED UP...
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:05 pm

Brandudh, why do you say that food prices rises were not forseen when anyone could see that they were going to rise. What do you think happens to prices when the ECB increases the money supply by 600 billion Euros.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:23 pm

youngdan wrote:
Brandudh, why do you say that food prices rises were not forseen when anyone could see that they were going to rise. What do you think happens to prices when the ECB increases the money supply by 600 billion Euros.

Well food prices are always going up but it's the huge jump in such a short period of time that's the problem.

Sure pump more cash out and inflation kicks in but it seems food is increasing a lot faster than the overall rate so there must be a other factors at work too.

See here for one of the angles:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/12/egypt.food
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:45 pm

Maybe food is going up because the demand is not elastic. The price of a haircut for example might be going up at the same rate too were it not for the fact that demand would drop off fairly quickly. This is bad news for barbers but good news for tillage farmers. The inflation will make life very difficult for many. The good news is that the higher the inflation the easier it is to see that the inflation is the result of the ECB. When inflation is low it is easier to blame greedy farmers, hoarders and speculators and many will believe it. I believe this inflation is deliberate to cause mass starvation and Ireland will get a taste as well. The Eurofools are to be thanked for the inflation in food.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:53 pm

That article made no mention of the inflation rate there but it described the civil servants pension as paltry which lends me to believe he was screwed through inflation. It is likely that he has little understanding of the money supply.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:02 pm

youngdan wrote:
That article made no mention of the inflation rate there but it described the civil servants pension as paltry which lends me to believe he was screwed through inflation. It is likely that he has little understanding of the money supply.

I guess part of the reason for rice shortages in south east asia is that China with its manufacturing wealth has been buying everything up. China buying dairy produce is having an impact in Europe. Population increases in urban areas unless they are matched by increased agricultural production can't be sustainable. Climate change and the switch of lands to bio fuel are clearly making it worse. Fish stocks are also being fished out and collapsing. The UN, the EU and the Dail should be in emergency session on this. And the Greens continue to flog bio fuels as a great thing. Trevor Sargent brought a commercial bio fuels producer along to the Electric Picnic food security debate last year like a magician bringing a rabbit out of a hat. No amount of explanation seems to get through to them.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:12 pm

Hey YD - us Europeans arent the ones exporting inflation- thats the Fed mate - the dollar is going into freefall and the Yanks havent a clue what to do because their financial system is screwed and the US consumer is credited out - so they are going back to the old and tried method of exporting their problems elsewhere. Throw in the fact of a little war in the middle east that has the worlds second largest oil producer put of action for the last 5 years and also throw in the fact that the Bush adminstration is massively subsidising the transfer of US and world food crops into biofuels - watch 50% of the Amazon rainforest disappear in the next 10 years to soyabean production by US Multinationals subsidised by the US taxpayer for use in biofuels. The ECB has held interests rates steady yet again to try and hold inflation steady. This Food crisis is down to running down of grain surpluses, poor recent harvests in Australia South Asia and Africa due to unprecendented droughts ,the fact that more of rich world wants to eat meats, and the fact that the First consumer puts what goes in their car fuel tank ahead of what the third world puts in their bellies.
Sure the ECB are not perfect - but against the total dereliction of duty displayed by the Fed and Wall Street - I'll have them anytime - Ireland is just reaping the results of extremely poor and non existent micro economic policy over the last decade.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:45 pm

Edo, you may not be familiar with me but I would abolish the fed. If you have knowledge of the fed you know who owns it and who benefits from it. I would not make the mistake of underestimating the Treasury Department though. The have the gold in NY vaults and can issue a new currrncy with the stroke of a pen. The issues of biofuels are part of the problem but they are not responsible for the price of rice doubling. They don't have too many rice paddies in Kansas. A sudden rise in population is not the reason either. What has the interest rate to do with the inflation rate. Who do they think they are fooling when they say they are worried about inflation out of one side of their mouth while they flood 300 billion Euros out the other side. This was 10% of the money supply increased in one day last Autumn. Do you believe this Edo or are you prepared to believe anything that Enda tells you. The reaction to the action is now hitting prices worldwide. The ECB are going to screw the Irish just as the fed is screwing the people here and fools there will believe Cowen just as fools here believe Hillary and her 109 million or that Maggot McCain who dumped his cancer striken wife to marry 200 million dollars less than one month later.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:58 pm

The reasons for the rice price increase (doubled since 2004) seem to be multiple and complex. This years production is forecast to be good provided the weather is OK.
It seems to have reached a point now where food hoarding and profiteering are driving the price up further. Bio fuels seem like a reckless strategy given the circumstances - surely we should be looking far more at wind, water, solar and conservation.

http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2008/04/12/southeast-asia-rising-price-of-rice/

http://www.groundreport.com/Opinion/PhilRice-debunks-rice-shortage

http://www.freedom4um.com/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=77492&Disp=1
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:08 pm

youngdan wrote:
Edo, you may not be familiar with me but I would abolish the fed. If you have knowledge of the fed you know who owns it and who benefits from it. I would not make the mistake of underestimating the Treasury Department though. The have the gold in NY vaults and can issue a new currrncy with the stroke of a pen. The issues of biofuels are part of the problem but they are not responsible for the price of rice doubling. They don't have too many rice paddies in Kansas. A sudden rise in population is not the reason either. What has the interest rate to do with the inflation rate. Who do they think they are fooling when they say they are worried about inflation out of one side of their mouth while they flood 300 billion Euros out the other side. This was 10% of the money supply increased in one day last Autumn. Do you believe this Edo or are you prepared to believe anything that Enda tells you. The reaction to the action is now hitting prices worldwide. The ECB are going to screw the Irish just as the fed is screwing the people here and fools there will believe Cowen just as fools here believe Hillary and her 109 million or that Maggot McCain who dumped his cancer striken wife to marry 200 million dollars less than one month later.

I take your point on the Fed and I didnt agree with what the ECB did in trying to bail the market out of its own self induced panic over subprime - but I think you massively underestimate how globalised and tightly interlinked the global food industry is. The US is the 2nd or 3d largest producer of rice in the world - admittedly not on the dry prairies of Kansas ,but in Florida, the mississipi delta, Texas and most importantly California's central valley. There will always be crop failures of one type or another - but the issue we are facing today is that there is no back-up crop to ease the problems caused by the failure of one.

Let me put it this way - previous rice failures in the Indian subcontinent would have been ameliorated by the importation of US rice to back up State reserves - however with US wheat,maize crops being increasingly given over to biofuel production and wheat and maize fields being torn up to plant soy which has a greater biofuel yield - the price has increased for these foodstuffs and more of the land used to plant rice has been switched to wheat production and also rice production to be used as animal feed - The US consumer and food producer can afford to pay the higher prices for these foodstuffs and this is lessening the room for maneuver by the third world govs and importers - throw in China now a massive importer of foodstuffs from being a next food exporter less than a decade ago - the massive failure in Africa of sorghum,maize and wheat production in devestating droughts that have been going on for 5 years now has reduced Africas role as a food exporter unless you can pay for it - ie fresh green beans and mange tout in European supermarkets.

We are just having perfect storm conditions at the moment - after a decade of underinvestment in food production due to poor agricultural commodity prices - soil erosion on a massive scale, increased consumption of non-efficient foodstuffs (meat and fish) and biofuel production could leave us with this upward curve in inflation for us ,starvation for others for another 10 years experts say.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:10 pm

Don't fall for the hoarding story because nobody hoards anything that is plentifull
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:19 pm

youngdan wrote:
Don't fall for the hoarding story because nobody hoards anything that is plentifull
People hoard when prices are soaring and they are not sure of future supply. ( I am speaking for myself here).
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:43 pm

I have said it prieviously that this is part of a plan to wipe out billions of people. What is happening in the economy is deliberate. In a fiat system with fractional reserve banking everything depends on the money supply continueing to grow. When it stops or worse still reverses the jig is up. Rather than let the bankruptsies occur they will now extend billions in credit. This had to happen. Then we see this global warming and biofuel rubbish. The government subsidises the farmers here because the economics do not make sense. It takes 70% of the energy to produce the end product and is a hoax. This is not the case in Brazil where the energy output is excellent. The farmers are not going to risk wheat with weather etc when they are gauranteed no matter how the harvest with biofuel is. Then you have the likes of monsanto with their copyrighted food, they will say that the only thing that can save the situation is mandatory introduction of gm crops. The problem is created to make way for the solution. Hagelian Dialetic. So get that Lisbon Treaty signed sealed and delivered so that there is no escape from the WTO. How is farming doing back there. Is Caoilte still paying to have trees planted on your land. That is much handier than biofuels as it removes the land for about 100 year till the roots rot away. Maybe they couldn't get the Kansas farmers to destroy their land like that.
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:44 pm

That is right Cactus, the hoarding comes after the shortage/price rise
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PostSubject: Re: Rice Crisis   Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:43 pm

The first Head of State to fall over rice prices went in Haiti yesterday. A UN security person was killed there today and there is fighting in the street. People there live on an average of a dollar a day: they do not have a lot of spare cash to deal with rocketing prices.
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