Global food prices are projected to rise in future as a result of changing weather patterns, water scarcity, higher oil prices and increased demand from emerging markets like China and India.
As if that’s not enough, financial speculators are turning their attention to agricultural commodities and gambling on food products. See the Spiegel article here and the Green World Investor blog here.
We were warned in 2008 of a global food crisis. But have we learned any lessons? Are we doing enough to promote food security and sustainability in Malaysia (other than corporate agriculture)?
While we are obsessed with FDI, are we doing enough to chart out a sustainable – and the key word is sustainable or organic – agriculture blueprint that would meet the needs of our people in the future?
Malaysia now imports 30 per cent of its rice needs annually, according to Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Deputy Minister Mohd Johari Baharum, as reported in The Star. He hopes that with increased rice production in the Kada and Mada areas, we won’t need to import anymore rice by 2015.
But senior lecturer Christopher Teh points out, Malaysia’s rice yield per capita has been falling. He then goes on to explain why the 2015 target is unrealistic, as we need both higher yields and new areas opened up for rice cultivation. Read the excellent discussion on his blog here.
Meanwhile, food educator and blogger Jared Goodman ponders over the question of sustainability: “Are we trying to sustain the global economy? Or are we moving toward a localised food economy that can be sustained?”
Remember, we simply cannot rely on food imports as once a global food crisis strikes, exporting nations will very likely focus on feeding their own populations.
- The World’s Growing Food-Price Crisis (time.com)
- What are the ingredients of a sustainable food system? (sustainableindustries.com)
- India’s growing agricultural water scarcity (induslatin.com)
- Chinese Ministry Warns Of A Decade-Long Food Shortage (businessinsider.com)
- Russian Heatwave’s Effect on Agriculture a Sign of Things to Come Elsewhere? (treehugger.com)
- Malaysia Targets 45-Day Rice Stockpile, Food Security (Update1) (businessweek.com)