Saturday, May 24, 2008


Exclusive: Will Global Food Crisis Affect Americans Too?

Author: Jim Horn

The crisis hasn’t reached our shores yet, but hold onto your hat. The world is experiencing its first serious food crisis in years, and it could soon be coming to your pantry.

Government figures spoke of 250,000 job losses within the first quarter, 80,000 in March alone. Official unemployment rates are 5%.

But have you driven a freeway lately at morning rush hour? Where are the contractor pickup trucks, the lumber trucks, the cement trucks, the painters, the roofers? They look to be missing in action.

It seems as though those 250,000 job losses are in Southern California alone. And ask the Mexican government about their new migrant problem – huge numbers of returnees looking for food, work, and shelter – a migrant crisis for Mexico.

Many other hourly workers have had their hours cut back, and that doesn't reach the government tally sheets.

Add to this the fact that the prices of certain products are starting to soar and demand is outstripping supply. For example, my wife and I recently went to COSTCO and the rice pallet was empty.

We went a week later and that space (for rice) no longer exists because our COSTCO doesn’t have any rice. An Asian green grocer store where we often shop usually has abundant stacks of rice, but last week several pallets were empty.

Yes, we’ve heard about starvation in North Korea for years – because of the North Korean government’s mismanagement.

We’ve also been receiving reports about famine in Darfur, Sudan – in fact, throughout the Sahel of Africa. Some of that sad, tragic saga is not new. Part of the problem was created by the Europeans and Americans, but that’s another long, complex story.

The world is entering a new stage of genuine famine, and you can bet that when things really get ugly, don’t be surprised if America, the world’s whipping boy, will be held to blame for the tragedy.

Thirty years ago, the United States’ efforts in south Asia succeeded in developing new variants of hearty, fast growing, high yield rice grains that were drought and disease resistant.

It was the green revolution, and suddenly formerly famine ridden countries like India, Pakistan, China, and Indonesia became net food exporters. Bangladesh could even nearly feed its 150+ million people (all living in a space the size of Wisconsin).

Is the party over? There have been riots in Mexico over the high costs and shortages of corn. (Is it because we Americans are busily turning it into ethanol?)

People are killing one another in Haiti for a bowl of rice.

The Philippines is also facing a food crisis.

India, Brazil, Vietnam, and others have halted exports of grains in their efforts to maintain stocks to feed their own people, and to hold their domestic prices down.

The continuing Australian droughts have halted their mighty grains export business.

Corn costs are so high that ranchers are raising smaller herds, which will translate to even higher meat, milk and egg prices in the near future.

Other foodstuffs are seeing a hike in prices as well, as corn and corn syrup are used in a wide array of products.

A so-far unmanageable wheat rust (blight) has socked Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, wiping out crops.

This is spreading into grain belts of Turkey, the Ukraine, Russia, and eastern and south Asia. By next year, it could be in China and also here, in the Americas, having a devastating effect on our wheat crops if no remedy for the blight is found.

Bees pollinate crops – especially those from annuals like trees, and bee hives are collapsing. When crops go unpollinated there are very low yields, if any, so nut and fruit costs may soon soar as well.

In a year, famine will be widespread and millions people worldwide face death as a result. Here in America, it’s an election year. What are our political leaders doing – fiddling à la Nero?

Where is the House of Representative’s leadership? Where is the Senate’s leadership? Besides spitting at each other, what are Presidential candidates doing?

Is it too soon within the election cycle to raise these critical issues? I realize the public often has a short attention span, but some things are simply too important to wait for the electorate to wake up and smell the coffee.

Before you know it, the looming crisis means that Americans will be called on to ante up billions in food aid to the world’s starving. That will cost us more, in both taxes and in actual grocery charges, as we will be competing with ourselves for dwindling food supplies.

Here’s an idea:

OPEC oil producers are rolling in cash, and they ought to be the ones to ante up cash to feed the poor this time. Their gouging is part of the reason we have moved food off of the shelves and into fuel tanks.

I, for one, have had enough. And as I’m waiting for the fertilizer to hit the fan, I’m quietly stocking up on non-perishable foods.

Alan Note: Islamic jihadists, Hezbollah, various Palestinian and Syrian factions are all using food, distributed as charity from mosques and political office locations, to recruit or retain followers and engender sympathy for their various causes. Often using USA foreign aid food we give to the world free of charge and without strings in the name of humanity.

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When will we and our Dhimmis wake up to what is happening? The tide in Europe has begun to turn in some countries less rich than the USA, such as Denmark, where new immigration laws change the "let us assimilate you into us by dancing to your tune - to assimilate yourself to us - or leave."

When will we and the Dhimmis, notice that Palestinians have again rejected a dual State of Israel and Palestine and are not "victims"? That no Arab countries - with a fine line exception of Jordan - has accepted so-called Palestinians as citizens, given them a nationality and a full status as citizen.

Why? Because they know the Palestinian "people" are a false myth and while they try to shove it down Western throats, refuse to swallow the garbage themselves.

Only last week, Iraqi Palestinians, currently mostly expelled from the section of Bahdad Saddam Hussein had allocated to them, staged a protest in the desert camp where they now find themselves with little or no food and water, by wrapping themselves in coffins and lying down in freshly dug graves.

# # Contributing Editor Jim Horn is a retired Foreign Service Officer who has served internationally for more than twenty-five years as a U.S. diplomat. He has enjoyed diverse assignments as a visa officer, an administrator, a security officer, and as an official in counter terrorism.

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