News: Expensive Food, Poor Farmer.

Work in rice paddy

1. The global export food prices have been skyrocketing since months (Post)
2. Combined with the raising fuel prices, it has caused - what is called - "A Global Food Crisis", urged by world leaders to be tackled urgently. (Post)
3. The crisis has sparked the question if the world can produce enough food to feed itself and how we can find ways to increase crop yields. (Post)

Yet, something is wrong with this picture... Take the case of Thailand:

1. 3 billion people worldwide rely on rice as a staple food (Source)
2. Thailand is one of the world's main rice exporters (Source)

thailand export

3. The price of Thai B grade rice, a widely traded variety, reached $795 per ton in April, an increase of 147 percent from a year earlier. Source)

rice price

4. And yet, Thai rice farmers are getting a lower price for their produce, because of the highly successful crop this year (Source), urging the Thai government to bring in a subsidy scheme buying up 2.5 million tons of rice at a higher-than-market price. (Source)

Do you see the disparity?
- The world rice market soars, and yet the Thai rice farmers are getting less and less for their crop. Who picks up the profits of the high world market prices then?
- Even if the world would produce sufficient food to meet the demand, would that cause the food prices to drop? Or are they artificially kept high because of international profiteering on the financial markets?

You might think this is only the case in Thailand, but not so. Even in the US, farmers are complaining they only get 20 cents of every food dollar spent by consumers. Distribution and retailing account for 80 percent of retail prices. No surprise the world's farmers feel bypassed at the UN food summit. (Full)

More articles on The Road about the global food crisis

Graphs courtesy FAO and International Herald Tribune
Picture courtesy Wikipedia


Voegtli 08 June, 2008 04:42  

Well, I guess it is like for finance. I used to work for one of the world's biggest and oldest forwarding company, Danzas. Today it has disappeared. Because of stock exchange speculators. And shareholder value. I recently read an article about speculators who are moving from finance to food commodities. I don't remember where the stock exchange is in the US for these commodities. But it does not matter. What matters is that (among other problems) people get rich by speculating. Because of them, many reknowned companies have disappeared. Perhaps, one day, they will succeed to make the farmers disappear.

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