OBSERVATIONS ON SOCIAL UNREST IN EGYPT AND WEATHER IN THE US
By Roger Fredinburg
We are living is frightening times.
Suddenly Americans and the rest of the world are freaking out over things that once seemed perfectly normal.
Holy cow – It snows in the winter! What a shocker…
Here is an overview of the world this week.
General Info on Egypt:
80 million people in Egypt – the most populous country in the Arab world
Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world – over 11 million tons annually
40% of Egyptians have to survive on $1.00 per day or less. There is likely enough food, but Egyptians simply can not afford it.
The price of grain has risen by around 40% in the past few months. Price hikes for other commodities has also risen sharply; rice and oil 26%; cheese, milk, and yogurt 17%
The Egyptian government does subsidize bread and other stapes for the poorer.
Food inflation in Egypt has reached 20% - amongst the highest rates globally according to a survey by Credit Suisse. Egyptians spend about 40% of their income on food versus about 17% for Brazilians and about 20% for Chinese and Saudi Arabians
It is estimated that the government shutdown of the Internet for several days has cost Egypt $90 million
Global Food Prices
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the worldwide food price index is at an all-time high – surpassing its 2008 peak, when skyrocketing costs caused global rioting and pushed as many as 64 million people into poverty.
The price of oils, sugar, and cereals have all recently hit new peaks. Egypt is particularly hit hard as the world’s biggest importer of wheat.
Riots throughout the world were exacerbated by food prices in 1977 when the government cut food subsidies and again in 2008 when food prices hit their first peak.
What is causing the rise in food prices? Many worldwide factors:
Recent droughts in Russia
- Floods and heavy rains in Canada, Australia, Pakistan, and Malaysia
- Dry weather in Argentina
- Increased production of crops for ethanol and other bio-fuels
- Demand for food commodities in big and fast-growing countries like; India and China
- Rising oil prices impact the cost of shipping food
FOOD PRICES (Reuters, 2/2/11)
Reuters reports that world food prices hit a record in January and recent catastrophic weather around the globe could put yet more pressure on the cost of food.
Rising food prices helped fuel the discontent that toppled Tunisia’s president
Prices in the Commodity Markets- White sugar futures hit a record high and raw sugar futures rose to their highest in more than 30 years on fears of the weather-damaged Australian cane crops. The worst winter for decades in the US drove wheat futures to the highest in nearly 2.5 years
Food Bubble Article
The “Food Bubble” of 2008 has increased the world’s hungry by 250 million – see Kaufman’s article; “The Food Bubble; How Wall Street starved millions and got away with it”
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that food price index surged to a new historic peak of 231, the highest since July of 2008 (approx. 210).
Ethanol as a factor:
In the US since 1981, the government subsidies for corn production have caused many wheat farmers to switch to corn. Since it’s peak in 1981, the number of acres harvesting wheat in the US has declined by 30 million, or nearly one-third (Department of Agriculture). The US provides between 20 and 30 percent of the world’s wheat exports. The percentage of corn going to ethanol production rose from 7 to 39 percent between 2001 and 2010. The EPA has agreed to increase the amount of ethanol blend in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent.
The Frigid Winter and the Impact of Food
First major ice storm in 20 years hits hard. There are several reports of people storming the grocery store in anticipation of hunkering down for some serious weather.
In Chicago more than 20 inches of snow have accumulated - the third worst snow storm on record.
This was the seventh major winter storm to hit many portions of the country in the past six weeks
The kitchen that makes prepared foods for many of the Tulsa area grocery stores remained closed because trucks could not make their deliveries.
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In Ohio, the Austintown Home Depot has been bombarded with phone calls from people asking questions about generators in fear they will loose power during the next round of snow and ice storms.
In anticipation of sever winter storms this week a Kansas City newspaper warns its readers to ensure an ample supply of food and medication as well as having an alternative heat supply ready. Do not run generators indoors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Protect your water supply from frozen pipes.
My Oh my, how will anyone survive?
Here’s how - Call 1-800-409-5633 and be sure you mention NewsWithViews.com, or go to www.eFoodsdirect.com
And order something while you still can…
© 2011 Roger Fredinburg - All Rights Reserved