With the harsh weather in Australia, the drought in China, wheat prices are expected to go waaay up. Seems like our basic breads and cereals will see some price increases as well. This is no good.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
Everything now depends on this year’s harvest. Lowering food prices to a more comfortable level will require a bumper grain harvest, one much larger than the record harvest of 2008 that combined with the economic recession to end the 2007-08 grain price climb.
If the world has a poor harvest this year, food prices will rise to previously unimaginable levels. Food riots will multiply, political unrest will spread, and governments will fall. The world is now one poor harvest away from chaos in world grain markets.
Demand for wheat from Australia, the fourth-biggest shipper, is strong, said exporter AWB, as buyers from Europe to the Philippines battle for supplies amid prices near their highest level in more than two years.
From Wall Street Journal:
Prices surged to their highest intraday level since late August 2008 after the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, said severe drought in China’s main winter wheat region could pose a serious threat to the Asian giant’s output. The reduced production comes as world markets already face supply strains, particularly for high-quality wheat used for flour.
As TimesOnline reports, slowly, rioting over food shortages and higher prices has begun.
Population pressure and increased wealth are mainly to blame for the resurgence of food insecurity. More people are eating meat and dairy products in Asia, which increases the demand on the animal-feed industry.
They also talk about how biofuels is threatening world food production.
And in The Star:
Arable-land acreage is indeed shrinking, even factoring out its conversion to production of fuel feedstock. Several million hectares of farmland disappear each year, as growing economies convert it into residential subdivisions and industrial parks. Declining fresh-water supplies further diminish the amount of land available for farming.