UN FAO Says World Harvests Down, Prices Up; Obama Envoy to FAO: ’Markets’ Will Solve It; Don’t Take Emergency G20 Action
5 October 2012
Thursday, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), headquartered in Rome, released its quarterly report, lowering its forecast for the 2012 grain harvests, and issuing details on its FAO Food Price Index, which shows world food-price inflation. The index for dairy products, for example, rose 7% from August to September. The index for pork prices rose 6%, same time.
Right away, Obama’s Ambassador to the FAO and the other UN agencies in Rome, David J. Lane, issued an official statement that, there is no need for emergency action. Specifically, he said that there are no grounds for activating the mechanism — called a Rapid Response Forum — set up last year by the Group of 20, to discuss the food and price situation. The G20 established an Agriculture Market Information System (AMIS) for contingency action on food-price crises, but the Obama Administration is saying, no. Don’t activate it. "Agricultural commodity markets are funtioning," asserted the official U.S. Mission statement, according to Reuters in Rome.
This is just the latest Obama decree for hunger and starvation. In August, Obama officials said the same thing — no, to a G20 response to the food crisis, in a conference call with officials from Mexico (the G20 Chair) and France, which heads AMIS for 2011-2012. The conference-call’s excuse for non-action, was to wait until the Sept. 12 U.S. Department of Agriculture world crop report came out. It did, showing lowered harvests, but Obama still blocks action.
There is no question that food is getting ever more scarce, the ability to produce more is eroding, and prices are inflating faster and faster. This is even now reported in U.S. headlines. (See separate round-up).
The UNFAO yesterday, in its quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, cut its estimated global cereals output forecast by 0.4%, down to 2.286 billion tons, from a prior estimate of 2.295 bil tons. This reflects the impact of drought and other harvest losses. The FAO also cuts its projections of grain stocks.
What is truly required, is about 4 bil tons, double the current yearly harvest, and more each year for the world’s growing population.
The FAO Food Price Index rose by 1.4% from August to September, now at the levels of the 2008 food crisis, with no end in sight, without changing the system. This morning’s FAO report gave the info on prices of its food basket (cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat, and sugar), from August (213 index) to September (216). Price rises were led by dairy and meat. Today’s food prices are 44% higher than those 10 years ago, by the FAO statistical calculation (averaged 2002-2004), and poised for take off.
David Lane, Obama’s newly-appointed Ambassador to the U.N. Agencies in Rome (sworn in in July, 2012), is a good man for the dirty job of enforcing hunger. He worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2001 to 2007; in 2011, Lane was in the White House as Assistant to the President, and Counselor to the Chief of Staff (William J. Daley), and he has worked for the London-networks of pseudo-charities, such as Bono’s ONE, which police against changing the system, while howling about the plight of the poor.