Monday, May 12, 2008
“resemblance between the surge in food prices and earlier bubbles in technology and housing”
The world seems to be suffering from the delusion that there is a chronic shortage of food. Rising consumption of food in the developing world and the growing use of biofuels is said to be bolstering demand and therefore raising prices. Many fund groups are also harnessing such arguments to encourage investors to put money in their shiny new agriculture funds. Problem is there is little basis to such arguments. As Daniel Ben-Ami shows in this week's cover story the rising demand for food inside, for example, China is largely met from rising productivity inside the country. Even America's Department of Agriculture concedes that China is largely self-sufficient in food. It is unlikely therefore that Chinese demand is pushing up prices on the world market.