Money managers are holding their most-bearish bets on grain prices since the government started tracking the data in 2006. It’s easy to see why. Stockpiles of corn and soybeans in the U.S., the world’s largest grower, probably were the biggest ever on Dec. 1, and wheat inventories were the highest in five years, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Domestic stockpiles have been swelling as U.S. exports falter, fueled by a strong dollar and rising production by other suppliers. –Megan Durisin, Bloomberg, 10 January 2016
International food prices dipped by 19 per cent in the last year, the fourth consecutive annual fall, due to substantial decline in dairy, sugar and veg oil prices according to the United Nations food agency. Abundant supplies in the face of a timid world demand and an appreciating US dollar are the main reasons for the general weakness that has dominated food prices in 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said in its monthly food price index. —Press Trust of India, 11 January 2016
Climate change has already cut into the global food supply and is fuelling wars and natural disasters, but governments are unprepared to protect those most at risk, according to a report from the UN’s climate science panel. The scientists said there was enough evidence to say for certain that climate change is affecting food production on land and sea. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns could lead to food price rises of between 3% and 84% by 2050. The report also connected climate change to rising food prices and political instability, for instance the riots in Asia and Africa after food price shocks in 2008. –Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian 31 March 2014
Bumper crops elsewhere are the main reason for low prices. Globally, the cereal harvest this year will be very close to last year’s huge record. This was not supposed to happen. The eco-gloomsters who had talked for decades about a coming food crisis, even while famines faded, thought their day had come at last. The world cereal harvest grew by 20 per cent in the past ten years (cereals provide 65 per cent of our calories). It needs to grow by another 70 per cent in the next 35 years to feed 2050’s nine billion people, probably with more affluent tastes. It is on track to do so and to release a huge area from growing food at the same time. –Matt Ridley, The Times, 21 September 2015
India’s horticulture output has outpaced the production of foodgrains third year in a row in 2014-15 despite deficit monsoon, unseasonal rains and hailstorms. Horticultural crops comprise of fruits, vegetables, plantation crops, flowers, spices and aromatics, while the foodgrains basket contains wheat, rice, coarse cereals, oil seeds and pulses. India has witnessed voluminous increase in horticulture production over the last few years. Data show that fruits and vegetables account for nearly 90% of the total horticulture production in India which is, at present, the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. –Vishwa Mohan, The Times of India, 1 January 2016
The Paris Agreement to tackle global warming has actually dealt a major setback to the fight against climate change, leading academics will warn. The deal may have been trumpeted by world leaders but is far too weak to do help prevent devastating harm to the Earth, it is claimed. In a joint letter to The Independent, some of the world’s top climate scientists launch a blistering attack on the deal, warning that it offers “false hope” that could ultimately prove to be counterproductive in the battle to curb global warming. –Tom Bawden, The Independent, 8 January 2016
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