By Simon Butler in Australia:
Corporations profiting out of food crisis
Sunday, October 21, 2012
The United Nations has warned that world grain reserves have fallen to critically low levels as world food prices have risen to levels close to that of 2008 — a year in which food riots took place in more than 30 countries.
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation economist Abdolreza Abbassian told the October 13 Observer: “We’ve not been producing as much as we are consuming. That is why stocks are being run down. Supplies are now very tight across the world and reserves are at a very low level, leaving no room for unexpected events next year.”
Today, about one in eight people around the world do not have enough to eat and 2.5 million children die of hunger every year. The UN released its report State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 on October 9. The report said 15% of those in poor countries — about 850 million people — are hungry. A further 15 million people in developed countries are also undernourished.
The report said some gains were made in reducing hunger since the early 1990s, but admitted: “Most of the progress, however, was achieved before 2007–08. Since then, global progress in reducing hunger has slowed and levelled off.”
The latest food price hikes threaten to drive more people back into hunger.
The small group of food multinationals that monopolise the world food market are positioning themselves to take full advantage of the crisis.
In August, the director of agriculture trading at giant commodities trading firm Glencore Chris Mahoney said: “The environment is a good one. High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities.”
Oxfam UK’s Jodie Thorpe told the Independent Glencore was “profiting from the misery and suffering of poor people who are worst hit by high and volatile food prices … Glencore’s comment that ‘high prices and lots of volatility and dislocation’ was ‘good’ gives us a rare glimpse into the little-known world of companies that dominate the global food system”.
- Corporate giants reap billions from hunger (climateandcapitalism.com)
- BEST OF THE WEB: ‘We’ll make a killing out of food crisis’, psychopathic Glencore trading boss Chris Mahoney boasts (sott.net)
- Food price crisis: What crisis? (bbc.co.uk)
- UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013: Collapse of global food supply inevitable (sott.net)
- Barclays makes £500 ($790) million betting on food crisis (investmentwatchblog.com)
- World food prices near crisis levels (guardian.co.uk)
- UN Warns Of Food Crisis In 2013 If Extreme Weather Persists (thinkprogress.org)