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What is causing the global food price spike and what should be done about it?

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Market forces: High demand with restricted supply.

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Cause: Hedge Funds and using food for biofuel. Cure : Regulate Commodity Markets and Futures Trading.

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Greed on somebody's part somewhere.

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Futures trading. A lot of 'big money' that used to make profits in the real estate markets is now gambling on putting up the price of your food and fuel by cornering the supply.

That is how global capitalism works,

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Drought is causing shortage and some countries have stopped exporting rice causing shortages but intercompany buying and selling plus greed by monopolies is having the greatest effect. Companies within monopolies trading under different names sell to each other at inflated prices to avoid taxes and maximise profits. Stopping this by not allowing business entities to own other smaller entities would be the best approach and make these price ripp-offs visible to both government and public.

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futures, bad weather, water quality going down, greed, global warming, etc

All this stuff was supposed to start getting nasty 100-200yrs from now blah blah, well its here now & going to get worse much quicker than most expected & with the robber barons back, doing their thing we are going to be in for some turbulent times, watch for the masses to rise up & it will get ugly, glad I am not so young & no kids of my own

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Increased demand for meat is not the cause, but it is a contributing factor.

Farm animal population growth is now increasing faster than human population growth. Farm animals eat one third of the world's grain. Animal husbandry is a hungry, thirsty, polluting infficient industry.

Feed the people, not the farm animals.

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What is the cause?... now is not the time to make this question, it's too late. The solution?... it's easy, look to other side, argentinian beef is better than meat from U.S. or New Zealand, better and cheaper, vegetables and fruit have nobody to buy it, in south american countries (Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador), sometimes farmers have to throw to the garbage tons of pinneapples, bananas, potatoes (i've heard Peru has more than 600 different kind of potatoes), tomatoes, onios, apples... and more, because they don't have market to sell (or the price is to low), and two months ago, i saw the news and some farmers throw to garbage tons of milk (yes, natural farm's milk), because some people was on strike and closed the highway for a week, and the trucks could not go to the markets, and obviously that milk would be useless anyway. It's amazing these "poor countries" have more than enough food and you can find there an acceptable lunch menu for less than U.S. $2.00. Why dont make a deal with them?..., why not??. Find the answer by yourselves.

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Grouchy's got it - it's supply and demand.

What should be done about it? Increase supply/decrease demand. I doubt demand is going to decrease, so, we'd best increase supply.

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Easy questions.

Cause: America.

American greed is behind the prices. American speculators and "greed funds" are pushing up the prices. America's greedy farm policies are also to blame.

Solution: Japan

Set up a new gloabl system in which America plays no leading role. Japan, as the most peaceful large nation, should be running this show. Japan can set up a program to ensure that all bellies are filled.

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too many people, too few resources...how about some countries stop making babies ?

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ampontan...that's hysterical...thanks for coming to visit us, which world do you usually live in ?

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ampontan, It is not just America's fault. China has a lot to do with it. What is really happening is the shifting of farming and agriculture to places like China, where big agri-business think that they can grow and process food cheaply than in native places like Japan. But, one thing people are forgetting, unless we can develop a transporter system like on Star Trek, no matter how much you grow and process in a cheap place like China, you still have to ship it globally. There in lies the cost increase. Shipping companines are charging higher rates due to increased fuel costs, they are into making a profit so they pass it along to their customer, food wholesellers, who also are out to make a profit, so they pass their costs on to their customers, grocery retailers, and on and on.

So yes, food is produced cheaply, but everyone along the supply chain is out to make a profit and with the rising cost of shipping, you will have these prices rise.

Yes, we also need to be better stewards of the environment. Do we really need another development of luxury homes and malls where farmland once stood? Probably not. I think that in places like Japan (and America too) if you want to make better use of the land, just re-develop the over crowded cities better with better housing, and not try to expand so much into the countryside.

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Japan, as the most peaceful large nation, should be running this show. Japan can set up a program to ensure that all bellies are filled

ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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"Cause: America"

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

"Japan can set up a program to ensure that all bellies are filled"

Ha ha ha ha ha! Japan, the nation that imports something like 60-70% of its food, can set up a program to ensure that all bellies are filled?

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I agree with Some14some, Smartacus and Statistician. Solution: Get rid of biofuel. Something needs to be done about the way the money men go about their business as well.

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Many causes. 1. Fuel prices, 2. Diversion of grain to other uses. 3. Speculation in the market. 4. Under-investment in African and other agricultural development e.g. 90+% of African farms still using rain only with no irrigation to develop stronger more reliable crops. 5. Increasing demand.

Solutions. 1. Specualation and profit making are key issues. We are far too subject to the whim of investment bankers and whatever panic or opportunity they are focused on. Their world view is short sighted and driven only by a desire for profit. Therefore they will never have the interests of ordinary people in mind. Control prices and take it out of their hands.

Invest in agriculture in Africa and other nations. Bring technology, science and education to maximize potenital development.

Do #2 and you can start to invest more in bio-fuels without the resulting impact to food prices. Lower oil dependency will help.

Accept that Peak Oil is reality and start taking steps to make the world less dependent upon oil. More local production means less cost to deliver. More local production means jobs. More local production means less carbon footprint resulting from high prices to bring things to market.
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Lower supply due to drought, biofuels. Higher demand due from China, India. Higher oil prices for processing and transporting the stuff. Speculation in oil and other commodities giving prices an extra boost.

More investment in food crops, less biofuels, more GM crops (ooh scary!) for better yields + less pesticides/water needed.

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It's funny how so many people blame commodities traders and speculation pushing up prices. But it's not true. A commodities futures trader has to sell his commodity when it expires because it is impractical and too costly to take delivery of it. He won't horde the commodity, so all produce is on the market and hence no way to push up prices.

Bad yields over the last year and rising fuel prices are mostly to blame. Solution: introduce more efficient and better farming technology like GMO's. Also, don't waste resources making biofuels.

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Double question JT! One at a time, please! ;)

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2020hindsight:

better farming technology like GMO's.

The last thing we need is GMOs. You want to give corporations like Monsanto the ability to control the food supply?

Multinationals make billions in profit out of growing global food crisis

Speculators blamed for driving up price of basic foods as 100 million face severe hunger

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/multinationals-make-billions-in-profit-out-of-growing-global-food-crisis-820855.html

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weedkila To promote more resarch in GMO's will create farming efficiencies that will feed the would. If many companies invested in the technology, competition will keep them (companies like Monsanto) honest. Unfortunately attitudes in Europe are scaring off potential investors and research.

Of course food companies are making more money; supply and demand has increased prices. It's not something that they created. And when it goes the other way and prices are low, nobody feels sorry for them then.

I read the idependent article. "Index-fund investment in grain and meat has increased almost fivefold to over $47bn in the past year, concludes AgResource Co, a Chicago-based research firm. And the official US Commodity Futures Trading Commission held special hearings in Washington two weeks ago to examine how much speculators were helping to push up food prices."

I'd like to know the conclusion of the commission, which seems to be missing from the article.

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Sorry 'feed the world' typo in previous post.

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Oil. Stop using so damned much of it and develop alternative renewable energy resources.

How hard was that?

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Problem = Greed, gluttony. Answer = Generosity.

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Hindsight:

Re; GMOs - There are at least a couple of documentaries out on Monsanto. "The World According to Monsanto" is one of the most damning and is now harder to find on the net because of lawsuit threats from Monsanto's well-paid lawyers. You can see the reason for this in the documentary. For example, Monsanto is basically hand-in-glove with the US gov. and have a 'revolving door' policy where bureaucrats move jobs back and forth between Monsanto and the govt. If you have a situation like this then I think any competition would hardly matter. The video documents some of the heavy bully tactics and coverups as well. You mention that attitudes in Europe are different (to the US?) Perhaps it is because of the media? I think it's important to have farming efficiencies, as you say, but not at the expense of people's well-being and even existence (messing with DNA etc.)

As one site says (from which the movie has disappeared); The following documentary is a thorough, in-depth look at the history of one of the world’s most dangerous and despised corporations and the serious issues swirling around genetically modified crops — from the implications for biodiversity and personal health, to the corporate control of our food, and more. Don’t miss it! (particularly U.S. residents who will likely never otherwise get to see this material on their screens…)

Trailer; http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/monsanto_movie080307

Full movie; http://www.livevideo.com/video/embedLink/1C4FB64D50354B9A856504954B453CC9/580798/the-world-according-to-monsant.aspx

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Cause......Better access to clean water and basic health care in all the developing nations, better infrastructure built over the years in those countries allowing better delivery of food supplies in those countries and increasing the demand. All of this has resulted in what one should hope is a good thing in allowing for longer lifespans and better health conditions worldwide. Though and I am no way trying to sound cruel about this; but it also means a lot more mouths to feed that wouldn't have been before and that is what causing the demand to increase and prices to rise, as food though renewable is still a finite resource in the long run.

Solution.....Continue to improve health and infrastructure in the developing world and continue with the green revolution just as India did to go from a worlds poverty case to a net exporter of food so nations that were once net food importers can become food exporters instead. India is the role model for the future in this area. Unbelievable what she has achieved in being able to feed her own population from her domestic food sources compared to what she was twenty years ago.

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I'll have a look. There may be some damning evidence against Monsanto as a company, however the unsubstantiated propoganda against GMO's especially in Europe by NGO's like Greenpeace is threatening to deprive the poor world from improvements in agriculture that will decrease hunger.

Yes, mainly in Europe the media are mainly to blame about the bad image of GMO's. The media there seem to take an unquestioning stance on claims by NGO's. And, we've been "playing with DNA" for a long time.

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tkoind2, while you pinpointed the causes correctly your views on trying to control markets are disturbing.

How about stop government intervention, or only have governments ban biofuel cuz they use all global food supply.

Africa? you kidding, right? for decades that was a pithole that used up more money and resources than it produced. Governments should leave that place alone and rely on their own agricultural potential. When Africa goes through industrial revolution and sorts itself out and becomes ready to trade with the rest of the world, then we should be dealing with them. Forcing our standards, no matter how good our motives are, is not going to work. All we throw in there goes to waste!

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Yes, mainly in Europe the media are mainly to blame about the bad image of GMO's. The media there seem to take an unquestioning stance on claims by NGO's.

With respect, I'd say it is the US media which is not giving American citizens the whole story so that is why there is probably more acceptance of GMOs than in Europe. Consumers in Japan, for example, are quite wary of GMOs as more info seems to filter through.

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weedkila

Yes, mainly in Europe the media are mainly to blame about the bad image of GMO's. The media there seem to take an unquestioning stance on claims by NGO's.

With respect, I'd say it is the US media which is not giving American citizens the whole story so that is why there is probably more acceptance of GMOs than in Europe. Consumers in Japan, for example, are quite wary of GMOs as more info seems to filter through.

Actually, I think it is the opposite and scare stories rather than fact are causing beople to be wary of GMO's. The US have been eating GM maize and soya beans for years without incident.

It's a great shame because the potential benefits to the world's poor are immense.

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The US have been eating GM maize and soya beans for years without incident.

For years, yes; but without incident? I'm not so sure. A lot of the health problems Americans are having to deal with today are directly linked to the foods they eat. I don't think anyone could seriously put the average American up as an example of 'how we should all be eating'; and the average poor American has many more nutrition-related health problems than his wealthier fellow countryman. How much of that is simply the result of bad food choices and how much is directly related to GMOs cannot be gauged in an environment where the immediate response to any query into the safety of any particular foodstuff, whether it be untested beef, GMOs or ubiquitous food additives, is for those in charge of food safety to stick their fingers in their ears and whistle loudly until the questions go away.

Sorry, but the 'Americans have been eating it for years without incident' argument simply doesn't ring true. The world's poor have enough problems as it is already, without having to deal with ADHD, Alzheimer's, obesity, heart disease and diabetes as well.

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Hindsight: Well, you have a good point about scare-mongering. Unfortunately, the image of GMOs is not helped when these huge companies destroy the livelihoods of others and will do just about anything for a buck. I guess if money was not the priority (as it usually is), and things were more open then people might see GM crops in a more reasonable light.

ONe thing that is a concern though, is the patenting of GM seeds. As Kissinger said back in the '70s "When you control oil you control nations, and when you control food you control the people.' Kissinger is not someone to be taken lightly.

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eat less:

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The answer to the first part of the question is: Ethanol and other biofuels. The UN recently declared biofuels to be a "crime against humanity".

The answer to the second part of the question is: Stop turning foodstocks into fuel to run our vehicles.

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The use of food staples as a means of creating bio-fuels. The solution is to either find abetter, more suitable means of creating bio-fuels, or look to something other, such as hydrogen cell technology...

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Energy prices spiraling out of control due to futures trading and market speculation. Cure: Someone already mentioned it: Careful regulation of commodity markets.

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High oil prices + divertion of foodstuff for "biofuel" + market worries about future oil supplies (Iran, Hormuz straights etc).

This is hardly rocket science. Expect this trend to continue. The age of endless supply of cheap oil is over.

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George Bush is the single most significant cause in crippling the world economy. Billions of Americans tax payers money are funneled to the American Army, who are being misapplied to achieve unattainable badly thought out goals. Because this money doesn't go into the economy, growth slows down, inflation takes hold and prices start to rise.

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fingerless:

George Bush does not run the world economy. The oil market and its result on food prices are global.

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Especulation by producers on sources for bioethanol and other clean fuels and incresed spending from emerging economies like China and India.

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People across the world must work together. Practice birth control, eat smaller portions, eat cheaper kinds of food that are not processed, like Quaker Oats, bulk beans. If you have any extra land space, raise productive plants. Eat locally grown produce if possible. Man should control his destiny, not be a slaved to it.

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Eat less foods that have high price.

Eat more food that have lower price or stable price. Don't eat more than necessary, you will get sick sooner.

This will stabilise food price and push demand down. When demand drops, food price will stabilise.

People want to get rich, why does coffee costs 30 times the price in other countries, because they can pay for it and there is demand.

Nations must work together to export/import the cheaper food products.

World nations must fix up all these greedy food/oil business people, by going all out to support alternative cheaper food/cheaper energy.

People must walk more, it saves energy costs and helps improve our body life span.

Sitting for hours in air conditioned cars is not good for body life span.

We must save money that we use, for those greedy oil business nutjobs, so that we can use it ,to send the nut jobs into poverty future ,for their greed.

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