“The term ‘food unrest’ will become part of our daily vocabulary,”
Food is the New Oil and Land the New Gold: Lester Brown
By Bernice Napach
The United Nations food agency reports that food prices are rising again, reaching 6-month highs and nearing levels not since 2008. Higher prices then spurred food riots in the Middle East and North Africa, which fueled the Arab Spring.
There’s no sign of widespread food riots now but eventually there could be, says Lester Brown, president and founder of the Earth Policy Institute and author of the new book “Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity.”
The term ‘food unrest’ will become part of our daily vocabulary,” Brown tells The Daily Ticker.
It reflects the imbalance between the supply of food and demand for food globally.
On the demand side, says Brown, is a growing global population — 80 million more people born each year — and more people moving up the food chain, which means as many as 3 billion people are consuming more “grain intensive products” like meat, milk and eggs. “Rising affluence may have eclipsed population growth” as a major demand factor for food prices, says Brown.
And in the U.S. about one-third of the corn crop is diverted to produce ethanol for gasoline. “We’re now using more grain to fuel cars than to feed livestock and poultry” says Brown.