An imbalance in supply and demand lies at the root of rising prices. There is stable demand with decreased supply. Tech-based industry has provided employment opportunities to people of developing nations, who may otherwise be food producers. Those that still do produce food on a small scale don’t have the resources to produce for a profit so they don’t expand. Drought conditions in recent years has killed thousands of acres of agricultural land. Some land has been given up on and some has been compromised for industrial purposes. The result of decreased producer competition is higher price. Corporate farming is efficient and ever-expanding, it commands the terms of trade and the of its goods. Hikes in oil prices are another factor in higher food prices.
A sudden increase in food prices has been attributed to four main factors. These include:
1. Changing weather patterns, attributed to global warming, which has damaged some harvests.
2. Higher demand for meat and better grains due to higher incomes in places like China and India.
3. Smaller crop yields
4. Crops being used for bio-fuel
Drought and flooding have been major issues that wiped out several crops. Oil also is a key factor, because the so called efficient cooperate farming that’s wiped out many small farmers, relies on fossil fuels for the production of the chemicals used in pesticides and fertilizers, to the transportation of these items to the farm, to machinery used in farming (including irrigation pumps), to the transportation of food from farm to distributor to the market. Many farmers barely even get by because a huge chunk of their money goes to supplies sold by the few giant agribusinesses (Monsanto, for example) that dominate farming on a global scale. Another crucial player that is rarely tied in with rising food prices is the decline of the bee population. Monoculture practiced in industrial farming cannot support natural pollinators, because pollinators need to have a food source year round, something that is provided by diversity. So industrial farming relies on trucking and importing bees seasonally to pollinate crops. In the U.S. beekeepers are having to pay more and more to keep bees alive and even have to import new bees from Australia. They pass these costs onto to the farmers whom they service.
If you haven’t been following the news lately, it’s easy to see that there have definitely been some severe natural disasters all over the place. Due to global warming and just freak disasters, food resources are being strained. This will increase the costs of food, and rising oil prices don’t help the transportation costs either.
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