Famine the other F word !

Jack H Barnes's picture

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shortus cynicus's picture

The article point in correct direction.

But there is some hope: most of food is used to feed animals and to "produce energy".

I hope consumers will avoid eating expensive meat and burning food. That may lower drastically demand on grains and hold prices stable, but unfortunately still high. Last year farmers have burned corn instead of coal, because energy accumulated in corn was cheaper than in coal. And now we have food shortage? I can't believe that. What we have is speculation in commodities and priorities of distribution problem, but never a supply shortage on big scale.

Banning speculative capital must be done. I personally will never buy any food-fonds. Killing people by creating price bubbles should be prosecuted.


AnAnonymous's picture

Only one thing is known to be efficient against speculation: that is abundance or mass production.

Mind you, abundance has never got speculation to disappear but the capacity to bring always more on the table dilutes speculative attempts.

Now that production is levelling, moving in unisson to the oil plateau reached lately, speculation is back  on the front.

But this time, speculators are mega sized compared to the past, as they've fatten on abundant times.

Enjoy the ride.

John_Coltrane's picture

And here's another problem-modern monoculture (lack of genetic diversity and crop variety) leaves us at the mercy of any future major pest emergence.  All crops will be wiped out, not just some without specific resistence. 

ebworthen's picture

Greater numbers of humans fed on less acreage with higher yields that are dependent upon petroleum for tillage, planting, fertilization, pesticides, harvesting, processing, transportation to consumers.

More people + less land + drought + demand for petroleum + rising prices = civil unrest and wars over oil.


bunkermeatheadprogeny's picture

Programmers are already writing code for a simulated Michael Jackson to sing the new "We are the World" song.

DrLamer's picture

So what? Israel has been warned about it's upcoming drought as early as A YEAR BEFORE it (the warning was provided by The Onwer of Holy Land in His regular manner - via His slaves prophets, with a detailed list of sins). And ... nothing changed. Jews simply ... rised so-called "tax on water", have established limits on water  and  .... classified all info about the drought in Israel. You see, there is no even word "Israel" in the above article. This is a top-secret matter of national security in Israel.


Weisbrot's picture

ask yourself, so why arent any countries building any large desalinization plants and water pipelines yet? these folks running the various countries arent all the names that so many call them. whats the plan?

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I have hedged my bets on food price increases by buying paper food ETF DBA, which is based on futures contracts of various of the food commodities (not just grains).  DBA has had a big short term run but is below its highs in 2008.  I am in at about 25, it is now around 32/33.  Where will it go short term?

I will take some profits in DBA when I see our grocery bills going higher.  I will NOT sell my PMs however.  Only in extremis.

Other paper food ETFs to consider:

CORN (3 guesses)

JJG (various grains only)

Sad Sufi's picture

I have a little DBA also, but purchased more recently at a higher price.

I like the idea that if food goes up, I am covered and if it goes down, and DBA drops for some reason, then that will be reflected in what I pay at the store also.  This to me is a "good trade." 

Hedging against known expenditures in the future to me is sensible.  For burning gasoline there is UGA etf.

Coldfire's picture

Calculated chaos.

Drag Racer's picture

Anyone with estimates on the effect in yield GMOs have had. I know the yield is lower, just not sure how much.


DR's fact of the day: 1900-1901 Monsanto had 1 product and 1 customer. The customer was Coca-cola and the 'secret formula' ingredient hidden from the curious world and purchased from Monsanto was no other than saccharin. Now you know. They started by selling poison and never stopped.

pitz's picture

Mofos just need to find a better grocery store if the grocery store they shop at doesn't have the food they need.

Eternal Student's picture

Agreed; excellent post.

It is missing a few very key items, though. The first is the dependence of food production upon oil. For every 10 calories that we consume, 9 of them come from oil (from fertilizer, packaging and shipping). We are, literally, eating oil. Which has lead to the population boom of the past 100 years.

Second, a very key item is our just-in-time supply chain. That's very fragile; and if you disrupt it beyond a few days, the stores run empty.

And another extremely important point is the fact that we are destroying the soil upon which we grow our food. There are ruins of old cities in China where you can see where this has happened. Started out with good soil, the local population grew, the top soil was depleted and the city could no longer be supported. Now, we're doing this on a global scale.

All in all, it's not a rosy picture. And modern agribusiness is only making things worse.

bunkermeatheadprogeny's picture

I guess oranges will make a comeback as a xmas present.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Indeed, an excellent post.  Food looks like it is about to become a BIG problem.

See my comments below about food ETF DBA as a way for Americans to hedge against higher food prices.