For years we’ve been hearing about the looming global food crisis caused by climate change and overpopulation. But the world continues to refuse to cooperate. This morning, Bloomberg reports the world is likely to have a third consecutive record year for rice production:
Farmers will harvest 466.4 million metric tons in the 2012-2013 season, boosting stockpiles by 0.7 percent to 104.9 million tons, the largest since 2001-2002, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture…
“There is enough supply to meet all the demand in the world,” said Concepcion Calpe, a senior economist at the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization, where’s she is also secretary of the Rome-based group’s inter-governmental body on rice. “There will be ground for a further slide in prices.”
We heard about a new “study” on how “extreme heat hurts wheat yields.” Meanwhile, world wheat yields hit a record last year, and this year’s is currently projected to be the fourth largest in history. What about corn? A USDA report from May says “Global corn production for 2012/13 is projected at a record 945.8 million tons, up 75.3 million from 2011/12, and the 6th straight year that world corn output has set a new record.” Oilseed? “Global oilseed production for 2012/13 is projected at a record 471.5 million tons.”
Now I should be accused of cherry-picking if I didn’t tell you that every commodity is not in record territory, or that prices have risen on most of these commodities in recent years even as yields hit records, suggesting that demand has risen even faster – indeed, high food prices probably caused last year’s Arab Spring. Additionally, dry weather and other suboptimal conditions constantly threaten crops around the world, and yields could suffer at any time (bad weather in parts of the globe partly prevented wheat from having the same record year expected by corn and rice).
Yet the Bloomberg article says global food prices have fallen “10 percent since reaching a record in February 2011.” As the prices of different products rise in response to changes in supplies and demand, farmers around the globe change the foods they plant to increase their profits, and the world maintains healthy supplies of all kinds of edible commodities.
Climate change hasn’t even begun to reduce global crop yields, much less do so on the pace of alarmist predictions. Three years ago, “food policy experts” predicted rice yields would fall 20% by 2050. It could still happen, but so far rice yields have reached higher levels every year since. (Besides, rising CO2 may actually be helping.)
As a result, the world now has more obese people than hungry people. At least for now, predictions about the threat of global starvation are not only wrong, they’re getting wronger.
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