Global Food Reserves Have Reached Their Lowest Level In Almost 40 Years

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For six of the last eleven years the world has consumed more food than it has produced.  This year, drought in the United States and elsewhere has put even more pressure on global food supplies than usual.  As a result, global food reserves have reached their lowest level in almost 40 years.  Experts are warning that if next summer is similar to this summer that it could be enough to trigger a major global food crisis.  At this point, the world is literally living from one year to the next.  There is simply not much of a buffer left.  In the western world, the first place where we are going to notice the impact of this crisis is in the price of food.  It is being projected that overall food prices will rise between 5 and 20 percent by the end of this year.  It is becoming increasingly clear that the world has reached a tipping point.  We aren’t producing enough food for everyone anymore, and food reserves will continue to get lower and lower.  Eventually they will be totally gone.

The United Nations has issued an unprecedented warning about the state of global food supplies.  According to the UN, global food reserves have not been this low since 1974

World grain reserves are so dangerously low that severe weather in the United States or other food-exporting countries could trigger a major hunger crisis next year, the United Nations has warned.

Failing harvests in the US, Ukraine and other countries this year have eroded reserves to their lowest level since 1974. The US, which has experienced record heatwaves and droughts in 2012, now holds in reserve a historically low 6.5% of the maize that it expects to consume in the next year, says the UN.

“We’ve not been producing as much as we are consuming. That is why stocks are being run down. Supplies are now very tight across the world and reserves are at a very low level, leaving no room for unexpected events next year,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

But the population of the globe is much larger than it was back in 1974.  So needless to say, we have a major league problem on our hands.

The United States exports more food than anyone else in the world, and so the devastating drought that the U.S. experienced this summer is putting a lot of stress on the entire global food system.

According to Reuters, the drought hit U.S. ranchers particularly hard.  Many of them had to kill off large portions of their herds because they couldn’t afford to feed them any longer.  So there was a short-term surge in the supply of meat, but because herds are smaller now in the long-term the supply of meat is going to become much tighter.  So expect meat prices to start to go up significantly…

The worst drought to hit U.S. cropland in more than half a century could soon leave Americans reaching deeper into their pockets to fund a luxury that people in few other countries enjoy: affordable meat.

Drought-decimated fields have pushed grain prices sky high, and the rising feed costs have prompted some livestock producers to liquidate their herds. This is expected to shrink the long-term U.S. supply of meat and force up prices at the meat counter.

Some analysts are already projecting “a world shortage of pork and bacon” according to the Los Angeles Times

The price of corn — a key component in livestock feed and an ingredient in powdered sugar, salad dressing, soda and more — catapulted 60% in early summer. A British trade group recently predicted “a world shortage of pork and bacon next year,” which most analysts interpreted to mean that higher prices are ahead.

In the meantime, chickens and turkeys are getting more expensive just in time for the holidays. Already, chicken prices are up 5.3% from a year earlier, while the cost of turkey and other poultry is up 6.9%. Eggs cost 18% more in September than they did a year earlier.

Sadly, the truth is that food prices have already been steadily rising in the United States in recent years.  We have come to accept this as “normal”, but these horrible price increases are really squeezing the budgets of middle class families and we certainly don’t need food prices to start going up even faster.

One man recently came came across a grocery receipt that was eight years old.  When he compared those prices to what he is paying now he was absolutely stunned…

1 can Campbells Vegetable soup was listed as $0.89
We now pay $2.19 for the same can.

Fresh Haddock Fillets were $3.99lb. Now $7.99lb.

4 litres of Skim Milk was $4.59…now $7.59.

1 loaf of whole wheat bread was $.99…now $2.99.

Fresh Green Pepper was $1.99lb…now $3.99lb.

Canned tomato juice was $0.99 a can…now $2.29 a can.

Many prices had doubled on him in just eight years.

Now that food prices are projected to start rising even more rapidly, how soon will it be until food prices double again?

Many Americans will be shocked by rising food prices, but at least for now we won’t have to deal with actual food shortages like many on the other side of the globe will be soon.

At the end of August, the World Bank issued a global hunger warning

“Food prices rose again sharply threatening the health and well-being of millions of people,” said World Bank group president, Jim Yong Kim. “Africa and the Middle East are particularly vulnerable, but so are people in other countries where the prices of grains have gone up abruptly.”

The bank said food prices overall rose by 10% between June and July to leave them 6% up on a year earlier. “We cannot allow these historic price hikes to turn into a lifetime of perils as families take their children out of school and eat less nutritious food to compensate for the high prices,” said Kim.

The price of food can mean the difference between life and death in some of the poorest areas of Africa.  What some African families face on a daily basis would be absolutely unimaginable to many of us in the western world.  The following example is from a recent article in the Guardian

On the other side of the world, Mary Banda, who lives in Mphaka village near Nambuma in Malawi, has had a year during which she has barely been able to feed her children, one of whom has just gone to hospital with malnutrition.

Government health worker Patrick Kamzitu says: “We are seeing more hunger among children. The price of maize has doubled in the last year. Families used to have one or two meals a day; now they are finding it hard to have one.”

How would you feel if you only got one meal per day?

In many parts of India and in many parts of Africa more than 40 percent of all children have stunted growth due to malnutrition and a lack of clean water.

So if your family has enough to eat and drink every day you should be thankful for your blessings.

What makes things even worse is that the big banks have turned betting on the price of food into a giant casino game.

Many are making huge amounts of money through commodity speculation, but by driving up prices they are severely hurting millions of families on the other side of the planet.  The following is from a recent article by Heather Stewart

The Institute of International Finance has estimated that by the middle of last year, $450bn of financial assets was invested in commodities – or derivatives, betting on future price movements.

In principle, there would be nothing wrong with financiers moving into the food market if it directed billions of dollars of investment towards expanding production, bringing new land into cultivation and developing new technologies to boost yields.

But – as the thoroughly mad market for mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the credit crisis, and the resulting building boom across the US, illustrated very clearly – the price signals emerging from the stampeding herds of Wall street can be deeply misleading.

In a recent paper, provocatively titled “Don’t Blame the Physical Markets,” the UN’s trade and development arm, Unctad, argued that the wall of money flooding into commodities has badly distorted the price signals a well-functioning market should send to producers and consumers.

The era of seemingly endless cheap food has come to an end.  In future years, there simply will not be enough food for everyone on the globe.  Some people are going to go hungry.  That is one reason why I am encouraging everyone to start preparing for the coming global food crisis.

Some experts are projecting the worst for the years ahead…

Evan Fraser, author of Empires of Food and a geography lecturer at Guelph University in Ontario, Canada, says: “For six of the last 11 years the world has consumed more food than it has grown. We do not have any buffer and are running down reserves. Our stocks are very low and if we have a dry winter and a poor rice harvest we could see a major food crisis across the board.”

“Even if things do not boil over this year, by next summer we’ll have used up this buffer and consumers in the poorer parts of the world will once again be exposed to the effects of anything that hurts production.”

Let us certainly hope for the best, but let us also prepare as if the absolute worst is headed our way.

I am busy preparing.

Are you?

The Beginning Of The End - The New Novel About The Future Of America By Michael T. Snyder
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  • mark

    I followed the advise of Ezra Taft Benson many years ago. We have been storing food and grinding our own flour for the last 30 or so years. 12 years ago we bought a ranch with lots of gravity fed spring water and water rights from the creek. Our ranch is not really a money maker as we it takes a lot more cows than we raise to make a profit. I do this for food security and I know what they eat and in turn know what is in the food I eat. We still are grinding wheat that was grown in the 1970’s. That wheat is not GMO. I have a ton of fresh seed wheat just in case it is needed to grow more. We eat our food from our shelves and buy more for the future when it is on sale. You should start to prepare today if you have not started yet.

    • Eisenkreutz

      How do you store the wheat seed?

      • mark

        We bag the seed in very heavy mylar bags with an ox. absorb. in it. The seed lasts a long time and since it is just wheat you can grind it into flour as needed. Buying by the ton is lower cost and is locally grown. It will grow here in my climate. I have bought many different grains and if we do not use them we can just feed it to the cows. We also store seed in 55 gal drums and the bugs do not seem to bother the grain on our place.

    • LOL

      Thought, GMO scarmongering is a luxury for scientifically illiterate people that never have had problems feeding themselves their entire lives.

      • mark

        We have used our oldest grain first. We just happen to still have a ton or so of wheat from the 1970,s in#10 cans. Some of the GMO traits are no big deal, but I don’t feel like being Round-up Ready for some reason.

  • Washington

    USDA: Corn harvest progress steady, reaches 79% Angela Bowman, Staff Writer   |   Updated: October 15, 2012

  • Gay Veteran

    “…The era of seemingly endless cheap food has come to an end. In future years, there simply will not be enough food for everyone on the globe. Some people are going to go hungry….”

    all the more reason to encourage people to limit the size of their families!!!

    the more the population increases the more people will DIE of starvation

    • Eisenkreutz

      We dont have to worry about the size of your family. 🙂

    • Mal R

      Warning, when hard left libtards like this clown say “encourage people to limit ” they really mean bring the full force of govt hammering down on you to include putting sterilants in drinking water (Obama science csar John Holdren), eugenics (20th century progressives that brought us experiments on blacks and the horrors in Nazism), modern democrats (which brings us abortion on demand), and a host of other atrocities their records are full of.

      No, its all the more reason to discourage the growth of govt which is what always stands in the way of innovation, invention and growth.

      The more govt grows (in power and/or size) the more people will DIE of starvation and mass murder.

      • LOL

        Exactly, haha!

      • Gay Veteran

        Malcolm: “Warning, when hard left libtards like this clown say “encourage people to limit ” they really mean bring the full force of govt hammering down on you”

        oh, so you read minds now? btw, you are dead wrong (as usual), I only support VOLUNTARY efforts

        • LOL

          “btw, you are dead wrong (as usual), I only support VOLUNTARY efforts”


    • mark

      I would think that if I had a farm a large family would be perfect. We could help each other and feed us from our labors. If you gay veteran do not wish to have a family that is your choice. Since I am older and had our childern, if things do turn out poorly in the near future my children and their families do have a place to come home to so that they can raise their children and eat from the sweat of their body.

      • Gay Veteran

        obviously the problem lies in foreign countries that have huge overpopulation issues

    • LOL

      False, the problem is not overpopulation, it is financialized management. Also, GMO scaremongering.

      With modern agriculture, african farming land alone could feed much if not the entire world population.

      • mark

        We have the land but not enough water where it is needed. I costs a lot to move water and the people that you take it from would not be happy with you.

        • LOL

          In the middle-east and north africa, that would be true, Congo and Cameroon not so.

      • Gay Veteran

        “With modern agriculture, african farming land alone could feed much if not the entire world population.”

        modern agriculture REQUIRES fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides

        • LOL

          Well, duh!

      • Gay Veteran

        “With modern agriculture….”

        reliant upon petrochemicals

  • Tamara

    Then they should let people grow their own food in their front and backyards, collect rainwater, let them keep chickens or food animals like they did during the world wars (you can even raise fish like tilapia and use the fish tank water to grow plants for food! Its called aquaponics)… Stop harassing people setting up indoor hydroponic systems (you can grow food indoors, not just marijuana people!)!! Let people figure out ways to survive, stop shoving rules down our throats that stop our adaptation!!

    Seriously, it is ridiculous that people get harassed for doing things out of the ordinary in order to better their lives, to sustain themselves! Leave us alone and let us adapt and live!!!

  • It’s time to stock up on canned food. A can of beans for $1 today will be $2 next yr. so that is a 100% capital gains & not taxable so this is probably the best investment all of us can make.

  • foodstampbarry

    I hope the first place that has a food shortage is Gary2’s hometown. It would be fun watching him as his foodstamps and disability no longer save his useless a$$. 🙂

  • Mell

    I have been planting my own fruit trees, (I have plum, apple, peach, and pear trees) I also have black and blue berry bushes in the yard, strawberry plants and asparagus plants are growing… I recently bought a greenhouse and have begun to use it. I have been educating myself on edible flowers and plants that grow wild in my area…. and have been canning my own food as much as possible.

    Everyone should do what they can to prepare for the worst. Even if TEOTWAWKI does not happen in our life time… shit could still hit the fan at any time. Better to be safe than sorry. Prepare for the worst for your own and your family’s sake.

  • LOL

    Time to reject the cheap anti-GMO scaremongering of the anti-science left. Unlike these unwashed handouts-seekers, GMOs are part of the solution, not the problem.

    • Joe

      Howed your triple stack corn do in the drought?

      • LOL

        No more 100 meters square swimming pools.

    • jayjay

      If so, why are so many countries kicking GMO tech out of their countries??

      • LOL

        Simple, GMO scaremongering, fully supported by the zeropean union.

        They pressure even african countries, with populations in rather difficult situation, to end GMO agriculture.

  • Dave Webb

    The problem is production of food. We need to take off all the handcuffs. Allow our farmers the freedom to produce on all their land in the coming year. Most times I would recommend letting fields recover each year and let nature take its course and replentish the fields with crop rotation. The current situation is entirely different. We need to allow the farms to do their job. In this case, turn them loose to produce food.
    Seed the oceans with food. One problem is over farming the oceans of edible fish. We have to put fish back in those oceans as we take the mature ones out. I think the continental shelf is a great place to start that program.
    Quit polluting the oceans with chemicals. I want clean oceans. Recycle all plastic bags instead of allowing islands of plastic bags to exist.
    A lot of ocean producing foods have gone out of sight price wise. Claim the oceans to 300 miles off our shores if it hasn’t already been done. No Russian giant ships feeding off our shores. Coast Guard do your job!
    For too long, some of the most crazy farm techniques have allowed a complete trashing of the small farmers. We all know who you are. Giant corporations with no clue as to what they are really doing destroying the entire food industry. This kind of corruption is destructive to our being able to feed ourselves.
    On a federal level so it effects everyone, destroy all zoning that does not allow people to produce their own food in their own back yards. Bring back the family home grown produce.
    For now, store what food we do not use for the drought conditions and release it in a timely manner to keep prices from going through the ceiling.
    Go talk to Disney. They have perfected the art of hydroponic gardening at Epcot.
    But then, people in government will not do what is necessary to protect our food supply. It is time for those people to wake up. We need laws to protect our farmers, not destroy them with large corporate interests. I think who ever is in charge will have to do quite a bit of weeding(excuse the pun) in the near future.

    • LOL

      “Quit polluting the oceans with chemicals.”

      You can´t pollute the Oceans, there are 1300 millions kilometer square cubes of sea water, +185 millions tons of water per human.

  • Dave Webb

    In the picture, was that all her children?

    • Birger_Skruddusvingen

      “In the picture, was that all her children?”

      No, only those who were still alive, and fit to join her.

  • LOL democRATS

    Put some GMO goods on your table and enjoy pinko rat.

  • Gary2

    sounds like the dream Daniel translated for King Nebucheuser

  • Gary2

    If the poor in places like Bangladesh and Africa, Mexico etc would stop having so many kids they would be a lot better off. Why can’t they figure this out??????

    • LOL

      Their birthrates are falling and have done so since many years, some times in the future their populations are going to become smaller due to pandemies.

      Overpopulation won´t be a problem, the 2050 peoples can consider themselves lucky if they are +500 millions.

      • Birger_Skruddusvingen

        “some times in the future their populations are going to become smaller due to pandemies.”

        Sounds overly optimistic to me.

    • jaxon64

      for once Gary you are partially onto the truth. I believe the issue is far more complex than this with many factors including, over-regulation, the big banksters profiting while they drive prices higher than they should be ( like the housing market still is); water scarcity in some regions, mismanagement of resources in poorer nations, lack of the technology and industry to increase yields etc etc etc…

      However those who cast an arbitrary, all-encompassing net of “over population” upon the world do not know what they are talking about.

      White and black populations in North America/ the US have been falling for over a decade-however with immigration and the birthrate of hispanics our population is still slowly increasing ( although as a % it is very slow compared to the baby boom years).

      Populations across Europe are dropping considerably also during the past decade. France is an interesting study in itself. Native French people in France have only 1.2 children per 2 French adults. However massive immigration from North African nations such as Libya, Albania, Sudan etc has kept the population level-although not growing. An interesting side effect of this is that the vast, vast majority of french immigrants are Islamic ( and they are also averaging a birthrate of over 6 children per couple). The numbers show that by 2025 at the latest-and possibly as soon as 2021 that France will cease to exist as a majority Muslim rule and Sharia law becomes the rule of the land.

      Sorry to get off-topic but I thought it would be informative to understand that in Islamic culture and in efforts for the global Caliphate that Jihad is not the only tactic employed by Islamic people across the globe (ask the people in Michigan about fatah–or the Netherlands, Phillipines and Great Britain about how literal chunks of their sovereign nations are now owned and ruled under Sharia law–not Islamaphobia–just cold hard facts.)

      China also has actually seen a slow decline in population over the past decade due to their policy of one child per family. The side effects of this are horrible though. Forced abortions and sterilizations are not propoganda–they are fact. Another side effect of this is the male to female ratio is very askew. Tens, if not hundreds of millions more males than females because families want a male child to carry on the family line. With those millions and millions of extra males with no wives or children, the military and service to nationalistic communism has become the focus of their lives. I shudder to think of what will happen eventually when all of that frustrated and pent-up testosterone is unleashed upon the world with an act of aggression or in war/conquest/expansion.

      Yes, the population areas that continue to boom uncontrolled appear to be Mexico and south, India and Africa…and these will be the countries which will suffer the horrors of starvation and/or flood the world with hungry immigrants.

    • Cares

      The greater the standard of living the less children people have, so if the government really wanted to slow down population growth they would improve the standard of living in the poorer countries…but no when one of those nations improves the standard o living and looks at doing the same in other surrounding nations then our governments go in and bomb the crap out of them and drag them back into poverty. Do you think Gadaffi’s water project will go ahead now under the new rebel government, his dreams of feeding Africa died with him and we all suffer the more for it. Big government means big corporate control and big trouble…and we are only at the early stages yet, it is going to get a lot worse!!!

    • Birger_Skruddusvingen

      “If the poor (…) Why can’t they figure this out??????”

      I think they are perfectly aware of it.

  • Graham

    Third Party Debate:-

    [Off topic cross post]

    Larry King has hooked up with RT to present a third party Presidential debate. Should be interesting. See link for time and date. Pass on the word. RT is a veyr interesting news channel, especially the Capitol Account and Max Keiser. Hard facts.. good laugh.

    RT presents third-party presidential debate:-

    [In response to widespread blackout from both the mainstream media and political establishment alike, RT is honored to be presenting a platform for the major third-party candidates also vying for the White House this election year to debate. The event will be moderated by multi-award winning broadcast journalist Larry King and will be broadcast live from Chicago, Illinois on October 23. RT America and will offer the event live in cooperation with the debate’s organizers, the Free and Equal Elections Foundation.]

  • Skid Marx

    We need some redistribution for the good of the collective comrades.

  • jaxon64

    Michael–here’s an article for you from Russia Today..American’s Are Once Again, The “Fattest People In The World”

    I am embarrassed that foreign news agencies look at Americans with disgust, however at least they take the gloves off and tell more truth than we get from our corporate/govt controlled media.

    One part of the article talks about the hypocrisy of Michelle O smiling and preening for the cameras as she talks a good game about battling childhood obesity and eating right–and then her dear inept hubby in turn making the former VP of monsanto his head of US Food inspection. It goes on to talk about how they adeptly blocked attempts to label GMO foods and mention the health risk of products such as HFCS. The party of the downtrodden ( yeah right–downtrodden and on nthe govt dole means a permanent lifetime voter)ignores the fact that the lower income and lower education people are far more likely to eat the junk and be obese.

    Margaret Sanger, the founder of planned parenthood and a reknowned Eugenicist, began the fight for govt funded abortion and sterilization long ago and the first clinics were established in the inner cities to curb the population of the minorities and poor whites. Now the inner cities are filled with garbage grocery stores, fast food joints and liquor stores–all with the same purpose—to kill off the lessers, the useless breeders, the great unwashed masses.

    They ( TPTB) know full well the unhealthfulness of the food that is offered to the poor. Eating healthy is expensive and well outside of the range of those trying to feed a family with food stamps. Then again, unhealthy fat people die faster–

    • Michael

      What kind of example have we become to the rest of the world?


    • whodatperson2

      While there is some truth in the RT article, such as american’s being fat. However, I hesitate to believe the Russian Times. They seem to have some problems on their own in which they should think about fixing ASAP.

      However, we would really save is at the grocery stores. They throw out so much food it isn’t funny. Some may give it to a pantry occsaionally or a pig farmer, but by and large it is dumped.

      I’m against GMO’s, and Mosanto, so you get no argument from me there.

      No argument about Sanger, but I don’t think that those businesses are there specifically because of her eugenics stands. But… she was/is evil.

      The poor can eat well. In fact, most of us can if we want to. There are plenty of cities that have public gardens and they seem to be growing. People eat garbage because they want to for the most part. I know plenty of people with plenty of money who eat garbage and know they eat garbage. They’re just as overweight as the poor man is.
      The issue is no different than a drunk. Stop drinking.

    • Birger_Skruddusvingen

      “Margaret Sanger, the founder of planned parenthood and a reknowned [sic] Eugenicist,” etc.

      A true heroine!

  • Ralfine

    Maybe in future people will learn that you can’t eat gold and ammo.

  • As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I would like to stress the insanity of feeding 70% of the grain produced in the US to animals destined for slaughter while almost a billion of the world’s people lack adequate food and millions of people worldwide die annually of hunger and its effects. Making the situation even more scandalous is that we are converting healthy foods like corn, soy, and oats, that are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates to animal products that are devoid of these nutrients but are high in cholesterol and saturated fat, thus contributing to many chronic degenerative diseases.

    In addition, animal-based diets are contributing greatly to climate change, deforestation, rapid species losses, soil erosion, and many other environmental threats, in addition to the massive mistreatment of billions of animals on “factory farms.”

    Madness and sheer insanity!!!!!

    • Ima Jus Sayin

      I know you probably have good intentions, but your buying into (and pushing) a narrative that is provably false, Mr. President.

      The human brain relies upon the intake of animal-based fats and cholesterol for optimal health and functionality. Historically cults have required their members to become vegetarians which induces an more passive docile behavior from lack of proper nutrition.

      Multinational companies in-line with long-term UN policy have been in the process of manifesting this type of crisis for years. Only when such sizable crises arise does the UN yield any control, or have the opportunity to seize unwarranted control. Unless your a coincidence theorist the documented evidence should intrigue you, if you don’t choose to look at alternative arguments (to anything you believe) than I feel sorry for you.

      Also, livestock and their farts (methane gas) has nothing to do with climate change, look at both sides of the argument, please. This idea is insulting to the intelligence of the global public, but because most people just parrot BS they hear, they don’t ever use the small amount of intelligence that their public school failed to condition out of them.

      And yes, factory farms are a problem. This is the only fact you are correct about. However, factory farms don’t = meat, factory farms = corporate irresponsibility.

      Attack the corporations that are destroying our planet sir, and get off of your high horse telling your fellow citizens how to live.