Food prices and world stability

Food prices have become expensive for the low-paid categories of third world societies. Rich countries, especially in Europe aren’t feeling the crunch because they have the technological means to keep the production stable as they have the money to import the food they can’t grow from developing countries whose economies depend on agriculture.

Food has become the new divide between the rich and the poor. Many governments are concerned about keeping their populations reasonably fed before they become faced with bread riots as it is now happening in many countries around the world. The well known cases are in Egypt, a principally desert country with a population topping 70 million people.

In Morocco, the basic commodities for the Moroccan population have seen a sharp increase surpassing 50% for cooking oil and more than 60% for flour in less than a year, despite these commodities being subsidized by the government.

The cost of living in Morocco has increased because of the soaring prices of housing, electricity ands water bills among other things while the wages are so far frozen, despite an increase not exceeding 10% for salaried workers while the private sector is reluctant to increase wages for its workers, citing foreign competition as the main factor. An increase in wages means an increase in the price of the products sold at home and abroad in face of Chinese competition among other things.

Hunger is a concern for the have and the have not, as it will intensify social tensions and the level of crimes, especially among the unemployed and the heavily disadvantaged populations. There is no need to return to historical periods as in the Middle Ages when hunger because of droughts followed with diseases used to sweep a large proportion of the world population.

Such a situation should be a wakeup call for scientists to concentrate on the means to produce cheap food needing little land and water. But it’s the economic calculations that stand in the way of improving the world food program. There are food companies fearful of the plunge in prices. For them food shortage means rapid benefits.

Currently the Earth can feed more than its current population. But the economic difficulties and the lack of cooperation between nations that makes lands remain barren. What if the world changes its tactics in fighting terror? The looming universal hunger can be the great terror awaiting at least poor countries. There are no armies to maintain peace if there are no full stomachs making people consider what best to make with their lives instead of daily continuous struggle to get basic food that their pockets can’t afford.

2 Comments

  1. Looney said,

    April 10, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    I fear for the poor. Global warming has merged with farm lobbies in our country to create tremendous pressure to convert food into ethanol for cars using taxpayer subsidies. From what I have heard, the entire US corn crop can only supply 10% of our petrol, so the US and Europe could easily consume half the world’s food supply.

    The price rises may just be starting.

  2. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    April 12, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Yes Looney. The danger facing humanity isn’t because the Earth can’t produce enough food for its current and future populations but because of the economic and political lobbies deciding which crop and food to grow. The first victims of such lobbies are of course poor countries which have no technological means to increase their productions or to face continuos droughts.


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