If you’re shelling out more money for food these days, don’t be too surprised – You’re not the only one whose pockets are bleeding from high food prices.
From Albania to Zimbabwe – and all countries in between in alphabetical order – consumers are complaining about rising food prices.
In the Philippines, for instance, rice has doubled in prices since last January and threatens to triple in the days ahead. The price tag of practically every edible item is skyrocketing – pork, beef, chicken, vegetables, fish.
The same is true with fuel prices of course. The only thing not rising in the Philippines is perhaps the height of its people, who remain literally stunted by poverty, government mismanagement and corruption.
Analysts are calling the dire global phenomenon a “perfect storm.” They point to freak weather worldwide, dramatic changes in the global economy, including higher oil prices, lower food reserves and growing consumer demands in China and India.
In Egypt, clashes over bread last week killed at least two people. Similar food riots broke out in Burkina Faso and Cameroon this month.
Food protests have spread even to Europe. The price of spaghetti has doubled in Haiti while the cost of miso has taken a major leap in Japan.
Consumers face at least 10 years of more expensive food, according to preliminary projections by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. And that’s their most optimistic estimate.
Among the causes of skyrocketing food prices are oil prices, which increase the cost of everything from fertilizers to transport to food processing. Rising demand for meat and dairy in rapidly developing countries such as China and India is also sending up the cost of grain, used for cattle feed, as is the demand for raw materials to make biofuels, authorities said.
What’s quite unusual is that the price increases are hitting all major foods in most countries at once. Food prices rose 4 percent in the U.S. last year, the highest rise since 1990, and are expected to climb as much again this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As of December, 37 countries faced food crises, and 20 had imposed some sort of food-price controls, authorities said.
More and more people are seeing a looming world food disaster. The U.N.’s World Food Program says it’s facing a $500 million shortfall in funding this year to feed 89 million needy people.
Food costs worldwide spiked 23 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to the FAO. Grains went up 42 percent, oils 50 percent and dairy 80 percent.
What I could not understand is, despite the scarcity and skyrocketing prices of food worldwide, many people are still maniacally stuffing their mouths and stomachs with food, food and more food even if their bodies are ballooning like crazy.
How can the fatsos be so cruel to themselves, and to their fellow Earthlings?