Fascinating article in today’s NYT: A Global Need for Grain That Farms Can’t Fill
“Everyone wants to eat like an American on this globe,” said Daniel W. Basse of the AgResource Company, a Chicago consultancy. “But if they do, we’re going to need another two or three globes to grow it all.”
Around the world, wheat is becoming a precious commodity. In Pakistan, thousands of paramilitary troops have been deployed since January to guard trucks carrying wheat and flour. Malaysia, trying to keep its commodities at home, has made it a crime to export flour and other products without a license. Consumer groups in Italy staged a widely publicized (if also widely disregarded) one-day pasta strike last fall.
What’s going on here is really simple: as incomes and standards of living rise all across the world, people want to eat more. Farmers cannot keep up with all of this demand so prices are rising rapidly.