Rising Food Prices

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Wombat
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Rising Food Prices

Post: # 71208Post Wombat »

Hey gang!

This was posted on the Aussies Living Simply forum by Forest but I thought it was worth a share.

Nev

"This is the main part of my blog entry today. I want to make sure as many people as possible are aware of this.

I've heard some disturbing reports in the last couple of days from farmers and meteorologists stating that unless we get good rain in Australia - particularly the inland of Victoria and New South Wales, then we could be in for "catastrophic crop losses". There are many reports from reputable government agencies that in coming months the price of food will skyrocket, especially if the drought continues. Other reports state that prices will rise because of the drought and oil prices. The increase in the production of biofuels has helped push up the price of grains.

Some of our primary food producers are on their last legs and one farmer on the ABC last night said that he has been farming for 50 years and has never seen the number of people on smaller farms leaving the land as they are now. If you only read one of the linked reports here, read this one from The Australian, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/st ... 43,00.html. A report in The Age newspaper states that food prices will rise by 50% in the next five years.

Unfortunately, it isn't just Australia facing this problem, it is world-wide. Wheat and oil prices effect world food prices, and I expect that if you did a google search about food prices in your own country, you'd find a similar story.

Simply put, if the drought continues and if oil prices continue to rise, we are in trouble. I don't want to scare anyone and, by nature, I am not a panic merchant, but I've never seen it like this in my lifetime. We all need to prepare for the worst but expect the best. Hopefully the rains will come and all this will fade off into our memories, like the Y2K Bug. But if it doesn't we must be prepared for it.

With the rises in prices we have to think also about the flow-on effect it has on other products. When wheat prices rise, that effects the price of bread, meat, chicken, pasta, eggs, milk and all the items made with these products. A rise in the price of milk and eggs will effect just about all processed food prices like cakes, desserts, processed tinned and frozen foods, ice cream, biscuits, etc.

We all need to be prepared for this. H and I have a healthy stockpile, laying chooks, water tanks, gardens full of organic fruit and vegetables, and our aquaponics system of vegetables and fish, but we will be auditing our stockpile in the coming week to see what we need to buy to supplement those fresh supplies. I know right now that we'll buy more flour, rice and vegetable seeds. I have secure places to store these things and I know they won't go off.

I want to revisit the subject of stockpiling groceries. I have written about it before, and there are a few threads about it here, but I want to urge you all to start your stockpiles now, or top them up. Already the cost of wheat and milk has risen, so bread and eggs will rise soon too. Even if you can only stockpile things like flour, rice and other grains it will help. Stockpiling won't insulate you from the rising price of food and fuel, but it will help delay the impact and it will also lessen it.

If you haven't yet started a stockpile, now would be a good time to start. If you have one, check it and stock up on everything you eat that will keep in your cupboard or freezer. It's Spring in Australia, so now is the best time to start growing your own fruit and vegetables. I have a feeling that food prices won't be going down again in a hurry. Having a vegetable garden will help, so if you have water tanks or enough water from other sources, think about starting or enlarging the vegetable garden.

Another thing we can all do it to learn how to make more things from scratch. Bread, cakes, biscuits, drinks, jams, sauces and relishes are all easily made at home and will help provide healthy interesting food from your own garden and stockpile. If you're not already cooking from scratch, now is the time to start. Cooking from scratch doesn't mean cooking with tins of soup or other processed ingredients, it means cooking everything from basic unprocessed ingredients. Also think about making your own laundry detergent and soap. They're easy to make and you will save money doing it.


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ina
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Post: # 71210Post ina »

Thanks, Nev - makes us realise how global this problem really is... Prices for eggs and milk have gone up in the local shop already, also the flour that we buy in bulk. The difference is - here it's not drought that's the problem, but floods... And F&M. (When livestock can't go to market, it has to be fed for longer - demand for feed rises etc etc)

The forecast was for a nice September and October, so I'd been hoping that the garden could profit from a bit of warmth and my pumpkins etc could grow a bit (Queensland Blue are not even tennis ball size!); but yesterday it was like winter, and today it's a bit warmer (maybe 14 as opposed to 12 degree), but wet, wet, wet.
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Post: # 71218Post 9ball »

Food prices are a worry, it's been an awful summer here as has already been dicussed, and it seems the rest of the world have various other problems. Bio-fuel is a growing concern for me - there's only so much land for stuff to be grown on, and I really don't see it being a long term answer to our fuel problems, I have visions of hundreds of thousands of acres of the third world being bio-fuel fields and it just doesn't sit well with me. The recent pasta strike in Italy due to the higher price of durham wheat is a good example of the bio-fuel arguement - high incentives from the Italian government to grow bio fuel has mean't far less wheat and other staple crops.
World markets are also having an affect on food prices, as China, for example, becomes more and more wealthy they can start to afford food that we have been taking for granted here - higher demand and this year less supply means higher prices for all of us.
Higher food prices are also going to push inflation up - which isn't good news, I'm pretty sure the big supermarkets have done more with enrealistically cheap food to keep inflation down in the last 10 years than Mr Brown ever did as chancellor.
It always seems sad and wrong to talk about food as a huge globalized market, with this affecting this, and having a knock on effect on that. It's such a pity so many people are detetched from the food they eat, and it all seems a million miles away from me going down the end of the garden and digging up a couple of beetroots for lunch.
Ok, strange meandering rant/brainsplat over.
Tom
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Post: # 71224Post Stonehead »

Stockpiling isn't the individual's answer to rising food prices - it just delays the impact. Stockpiling is more a solution to short (and in some cases, medium) term shortages.

The individual's answer to rising food prices is two-fold - reduce the luxuries and indulgences to prioritise spending on staples you can't produce yourself, while growing as much as you can yourself.

And yes, I know people will say it's all right for me as I have a few acres, but even when living in a terraced house with a small garden I still grew more than half our fruit and vegetables. And when I lived in flats, I still managed to grow fruit and vegetables in containers, mainly focusing on the things I liked but were expensive in the shops.

As for the UK's food problems, one of them is drought - in eastern and parts of southern Europe. Then there were the German floods, the poor harvests in other parts of the world, etc etc. Don't forget, 40% of the UK's food is now imported.
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Post: # 71229Post Wombat »

for those who want a look at Rhonda's blog, which has other good stuff on it :cooldude:

Nev

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Post: # 71262Post contadina »

And of course their are always manufacturers ready to exploit a rise in food costs. Buying flour from the mill has gone up 5 cents per kilo here in Italy but the price of dried pasta has rocketed (from 29 to 45 cents per 500g). There was a pasta boycott last week. I'm going to be making and drying more pasta from now on.

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Post: # 71263Post Shirley »

Stonehead wrote:Stockpiling isn't the individual's answer to rising food prices - it just delays the impact. Stockpiling is more a solution to short (and in some cases, medium) term shortages.

The individual's answer to rising food prices is two-fold - reduce the luxuries and indulgences to prioritise spending on staples you can't produce yourself, while growing as much as you can yourself.
That's true... and good advice there. Also... I don't suppose this applies to many people on this forum... but reduce the amount of stuff that you waste.
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Post: # 71266Post Stonehead »

contadina wrote:And of course their are always manufacturers ready to exploit a rise in food costs. Buying flour from the mill has gone up 5 cents per kilo here in Italy but the price of dried pasta has rocketed (from 29 to 45 cents per 500g). There was a pasta boycott last week. I'm going to be making and drying more pasta from now on.
While I'm certain manufacturers and retailers are exploiting the situation, don't forget that flour isn't the only input that's rising fast. Oil prices have risen 30% this year (passing the $80 mark on Friday) and are four times higher than in 2002.

That flows through into all energy costs, plus the costs of plastics (for packaging as well as parts for the factories), lubricants and transport.

On top of that, metal prices are also rising so again that has an impact. Copper, zinc, silver and gold are all at 20-25 year highs, while other metals are all up. That affects obvious things - pasta rollers and cutters - plus the less obvious - circuit boards use gold for example.

And am I right in thinking Italy has water shortages as well? If so, that's another cost that will rise.

So while manufacturers and retailers will undoubtedly add a bit more margin under cover of other, forced rises in their costs, it has to be remembered that a lot of foodstuffs and commodities are starting to run short - at the same time.
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Post: # 71272Post contadina »

You're probably right. Thankfully no one's told the chucks that there's a shortage (their grain's gone up 25 cents per 25 kilo) so I'm gonna roll up my sleeves and start pasta making in earnest.

Interesting the price of bread has not gone up over here yet, but as the government still sets the price, I guess that Prodi doesn't feel brave enough.

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