What has triggered mass protest and fighting around the world of apocalyptic proportion in developing nations? We have witnessed rioting in Haiti, protest in the Philippines, and stories of people killed in Egypt all because of the high prices in basic foods for survival.

What has caused the high prices of food around the world? Some possible causes but not limited to:

1. Biofuel

2. Government subsidies

3. Waste

4. Development

The biofuel craze has sparked investments and investors from around the world seeking a safe haven for there money. But first what exactly is biofuel? It is experimental fuel or additives for our vehicles that is made from food commodities such as rice, corn and soybean and it is the worlds answer to high oil prices.

According to the IBD (investors business daily) The National Corn growers Association says 2.3 billion bushels of corn, or nearly a fifth of U.S. production, went into ethanol in 2007. That’s up 28% in just one year. Ethanol production reached 6.5 billion gallons in 2007, and it’s headed to a federally mandated 9 billion this year.

In the U.S. the government encourages the production of ethanol from corn, which give manufacturers and others connected to the industry tax incentives and protectionism. Refiners get a 51-cent tax credit for every gallon of ethanol it produces and 54-cent per gallon tariff from cheaper imported ethanol.

Waste has always been a culprit in the Western World. We waste more food per capita than anyone else.

According to the Food Production Daily, a new study reveals that almost half the food in the country goes to waste… The new study, from the University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson, indicates that a shocking forty to fifty per cent of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten… Not only is edible food discarded that could feed people who need it, but the rate of loss, even partially corrected, could save US consumers and manufacturers tens of billions of dollars each year.

Development and urban sprawl has replaced the once valuable farm land and cattle ranches. Our desire for bigger houses and more retail outlets has also contributed to the higher prices. The number of farms has decreased, and leaving what’s left to produce what hundreds use to, which has resulted in more competition for food on the world market.

With our greed for consumerism and glutton for oil to drive our big cars and recreation vehicles we have created a situation that will last for years to come. I suspect for two to three years we will continue to see a spike in food prices before they level off and come down. It will take that long if we act now to find solutions to our distribution problems and try to eliminate waste throughout the food process cycle. There won’t be a simple solution to the problem and it will take some constructive and creative thinking on our parts. But there are things we can do on are part now:

1. Cut down on waste, the manufacturing and distribution industry are the biggest abusers.

2. Seek new markets and other areas for oil and exploration.

3. Is green better or is it just some fad

4. Develop efficient distribution systems for food.

5. Recycle land and buildings for development back in the inner city.

I am sure there are more but you get the idea. The IBD suggest we that we scrap the subsidies, tariffs and mandates and let the market decide if ethanol or any other biofuel makes economic sense. I think biofuel and research will continue to be around for years to come until we realize that it was just a fad, and nothing more. Industries and all of humanity will have to change and it will be a long and laborious process. And we have to ask ourselves are we up to the challenge? Developing process systems and making the ones we have more efficient will be the solutions.

But for now we all will suffer along with the worlds poor, but they will have it much harder then we will, for they may not know how or when there next meal will come!

Anthony J Jackson is a management consultant and can be reached at: tonyjackson923@hotmail.com
Website: http://www.waterhouseconsulting.web.officelive.com

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